When looking at why young people break the law, one of the most important things to consider is whether or not they were exposed to violence at an early age. If they were, researchers say that it makes them far more likely to engage in criminal activity as they grow up.
Some of the crimes that young people commit after this exposure include:
- Drinking alcohol while under 21 years old
- Abusing prescription drugs and using illegal drugs
- Generally becoming delinquent
- Engaging in all minor criminal behavior, such as vandalism or fighting
On top of that, researchers found that those who were exposed to violence often had more trouble in school than those who were not, and they would fail classes at greater rates. They would also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.
So, how many children get this type of dangerous exposure? It happens to about 60 percent of children in America. They see abuse, criminal activity or violence in their communities, their schools and even in their homes.
This perhaps helps to explain why youth crime rates are as high as they are in 2019. The majority of American children see dangerous and violent actions all around them, and these experiences push them to engage in similar behaviors themselves. It can prove very hard to break that cycle and it puts impressionable young people at a serious disadvantage in life.
If your child gets arrested and faces criminal charges that could change the course of their life, make sure you know exactly what legal options you have.