Development of Crime from Adolescence to Adulthood - Paper Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1512 Words
Date:  2022-10-01


The society has always faced threat to peace and order due to crimes. The nature of crimes ranges from property to violent offenses. The crimes are not only committed by persons of full age and sound mind but also by minors. In America, a juvenile is an individual under the age of eighteen years. ("38."Juvenile" Defined" 2018). Juveniles in today's society are involved in all sorts of crimes. One of the common crimes committed by juveniles is robbery. This paper discusses robbery as a form of juvenile delinquency

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Definition and Description of Juvenile Delinquency and Crime

Juvenile delinquency is a violation of the law committed by persons before they attain the age of eighteen. The same offenses if committed by adults are considered as crimes ("38."Juvenile" Defined" 2018). America by 2016 had approximately 70 million juveniles which are about a quarter of the overall population ("Statistical Briefing Book"). Out of the total number of crimes in 2016, eight percent were committed by minors. Statistics show that robbery was one of the most common crimes. In addition, robbery comprised of 20% of the total crimes committed by juveniles ("Statistical Briefing Book"). Robbery involves taking property from the owner without their permission, hence denying them access. Juveniles commit robbery with intentions of either keeping, selling, disposing and destroying the items.

An analysis by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJ identifying behavioral patterns of juvenile crimes states that most violent crimes in minors are usually committed by males. These include robbery, rape, assault, and homicide. In addition, the average age of onset of serious crime is 15 years. African-Americans juveniles were identified as the group involved in more crimes as compared to others in the population ("Characteristics and Patterns of At-Risk Juveniles and Factors That Contribute to Violence Committed By or Against Juveniles").

Violent offenses may require the use of force thus males succeed more in executing the robbery. Furthermore, the manifestation of early signs of aggression is more common in males than female. Thus, most instances of bullying in schools is committed by males (Mitsopoulou & Giovazolias, 2015). If the aggression is not managed early, it manifests itself in violence related crimes. Other factors that influence the rate of juvenile delinquency include early socialization to crime and risk-taking behavior among others.

Theoretical Analysis

This section will discuss two theories that aid in the explanation of the learning process of juvenile delinquency. Differential Association Theory and Social Learning Theory are a basis for understanding the relationship between minors` behavior and causal factors.

"Differential Association Theory". The theory was propounded by Edwin Sutherland. In his theory, he expounded on the role of association and learning in the onset of behavior (Hochstetler, Copes & DeLisi, 2002). The theory states that delinquency is learned in a process of association with youth with similar behaviour. Sutherland identified a number of facts that explains the theory. Firstly, the behavior is learned through association. This assumes that an individual is not responsible for the onset of delinquency but influences from his relations.

Secondly, the process of learning is through communication. Therefore, there must be a direct interaction between two or more people. Thirdly, the behavior is reinforced if the learning occurs from people with intimate relationships. Sutherland acknowledges that people admire and copy from close associates than from strangers. Also, apart from learning how to perform a crime, persons also learn motives and means of rationalization. Individual learning involves definitions that are favorable and unfavorable. The more the favorable ones, the more likely a person is to develop delinquency. How a person learns depends on the period and duration of leaning as well as the importance placed on the process. However, the logical process of learning bears characteristics similar to any other form of learning.

The theory of differential association can be used to explain the causes of robbery committed by juveniles. Using the concept can help in understanding the onset of juvenile delinquency. Most of the minors involved in robbery may have stared the crime at a very early age. Hence, it was easy to learn and reinforce the behavior. In addition, minors are prone to influences from their peers hence may not have sound judgment. Most juveniles have not yet developed self-identity and self-esteem. Therefore, it is easy to influence their character if they respect and value the relationship. Also, the juvenile has not formed ideologies that define their character. Unlike adults who have deep-rooted beliefs, minors can change from good to bad as long a close relations is also delinquent.

That is the reason that minors copy unacceptable and delinquent actions from parents, siblings, and peers. Since minors have little ability disassociate wrong behavior from a loved one, they adopt the motives for crimes. Though there are other factors that can cause juvenile delinquency like the environment influences and deprivation, the main reason for the onset of juvenile delinquency is through association.

"Social Learning Theory". The theory was coined by Albert Bandura and explains that behavior is learned from each other through observation and imitation (Johnson & Bradbury, 2015). Through looking at someone doing something one can internalize and devise a way of replicating the actions. The theory acknowledges the role of a person in analyzing action and imitation. For effective modeling of the desired behavior, four elements must be present. These are "attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation." (Johnson & Bradbury, 2015). An individual must observe behavior and internalize the processes. Then, they repeat what they had seen. However, there must be gains or else leaning will not be reinforced. Bandura also identified that there is a reciprocal relationship between a person`s behavior and environment influences. Either of the two can influence each other.

In explaining juvenile delinquency, the theory assumes that a minor has a role to play in initiating behavior. The juvenile must process his observation and come up with a way of committing a crime. In addition, there must be a motivation to engage in the crime. Unlike the social differentiation theory, social learning theory places some degree of responsibility for the juvenile. The social differentiation theory believes that an individual behavior is primarily driven by learning. The two theories though contradictory in ideologies assumes that leaning through association is key to the onset of juvenile delinquency.

Implications for Public Policy

The study on robbery as a form of juvenile delinquency is meant to shed light on the rates of the crime involving minors. This will bring attention to the government about the seriousness of the issue. With this information, the state can implement a measure to introduce more social curriculum activities in schools and social halls in communities. Therefore, the youth can channels their energies into games and sports instead of engaging in crimes.

The information is also vital in enlighting families on the role of association to learning of behaviour. Since the behavior is reinforced through learning from close relations, caregivers can monitor the people that the minors associate with. It is also helpful for parents to guide and counsel their minors on the effects of crime on the individual. The juveniles are more likely to adhere to the caution due to the respect they accord the parents. In addition, caregivers must be role models to their children to avoid imparting their negative actions to the young ones.

To the policymakers, the information will form a basis for the development of new policies to curb and manage juvenile delinquency. These include an introduction of guidance and counseling in schools and a subject related to crime in the curriculum. The students would have known about crimes and how they can evade bad company. Furthermore, those already involved with delinquent peers can go through counseling to abandon the vice.


Juvenile delinquency is criminal acts committed by minors before the age of eighteen. Among the most common ones is robbery. The causes of juvenile delinquency can be explained by differential association theory which assumes that behavior is learned through association. In addition, the social learning theory also explains that behavior is reinforced in a process of learning. The mastery of the behavior is dependent on their role model. Juveniles are prone to negative influence from close relations. Therefore, caregivers should monitor their association and guide them on acceptable conduct. These facts are vital to parents, government and policymakers. Their combined efforts would mold the young ones into responsible citizens.


38. "Juvenile" Defined. (2018, September 19). Retrieved from

Characteristics and Patterns of At-Risk Juveniles and Factors That Contribute to Violence Committed By or Against Juveniles. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Hochstetler, A., Copes, H., & DeLisi, M. (2002). Differential association in group and solo offending. Journal of Criminal Justice, 30(6), 559-566.

Johnson, M. D., & Bradbury, T. N. (2015). Contributions of social learning theory to the promotion of healthy relationships: Asset or liability?. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 7(1), 13-27.

Mitsopoulou, E., & Giovazolias, T. (2015). Personality traits, empathy and bullying behavior: A meta-analytic approach. Aggression and violent behavior, 21, 61-72.

Statistical Briefing Book. (n.d.). Retrieved from

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Development of Crime from Adolescence to Adulthood - Paper Example. (2022, Oct 01). Retrieved from

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