Studies of the demographics of convicted criminals have led to several insights into traits that put a person at a higher risk of committing crimes. IN this post, we will look at various demographic traits that put a young person at risk of committing crimes.
Young adults ages 18-21 are leaders statistically in acts of murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Since people have a tendency to commit crimes against peers, teenagers and Young adults are victims of crimes at a disproportionate rate. People ages 12-24 make up 22% of the population yet commit 35% of the murders and 49% of all victims of serious violent crimes. In other words, not only are young people generally more dangerous, but they are also at a higher risk of suffering from a violent crime.
There has been speculation as to why young people are more prone to criminal behavior. Among some of the ideas are the lack of experience and the inability to weigh the consequences of poor choices. In addition, young people often have the freedom of adulthood without the corresponding responsibilities such as career and family. Lastly, given their inexperience, young adults are still determining their own limits and the limits of the society in which they live.
When it comes to crime, men are the primary perpetrators. For example, 74% of all arrests were men in 2019. The only crime in which women outperform men in terms of arrest is prostitution, in which 67% of the arrest are women while 33% are men. The only category in which there is any balance in terms of arrest are several white-collar crimes such as fraud (60% men vs. 40% female) and embezzlement (51% male vs. 49% female).
The reason for this difference is not clear. Traditionally, men have been more physically aggressive and less risk-averse than women. In addition, there are known hormonal differences between men and women as well when examining things such as testosterone and estrogen. For students, this implies that a young person is likelier to be without a father than a mother. This can have consequences regarding behavior and a general need for attention.
An individual’s economic situation is yet another factor in criminal behavior. About 76% of men and 85% of women in prison made less than $38000 per year before being sent to prison. Anything below $32000 is considered poor. Keep in mind that it is difficult to track the income of criminals and that the cutoff is being pulled to the right by the occasional drug kingpin and white-collar crook.
The poor are also victims of crime at a higher rate, with about 63% of violent crimes being perpetrated against poor and low-income people. A tanking economy and job loss can sometimes motivate undesirable behavior that could also have legal ramifications for people. This is important because adult criminals often have children who go through the school system without parental support.
Race is another controversial factor in terms of criminal behavior. Among juveniles, blacks comprise 34% of all arrests. Half of all violent crimes are committed by blacks, even though blacks make up about 12% of the population.
Many contests such numbers and blame such behavior as racial profiling by the police. However, explaining any behavior or number with one factor is never simple or easy. AS such, it is not completely clear why there is such a disparity in criminal behavior based on race. Relating this to students may imply that students of color may need more assistance from teachers as they are more likely to have committed or know somebody who has committed a crime.
High school dropouts are ten times more likely to go to prison when compared to college grads. Furthermore, states with higher levels of educational attainment have corresponding lower levels of crime. Generally, more education implies better jobs for people.
For students, opening their eyes to the benefits of education can keep them off the streets. In addition, some young people may be at a higher risk if they come from a home that does not value education.
Lastly, religion plays a role in preventing crime. Adolescents who attend a religious service weekly have lower rates of shoplifting, assault, and theft when compared to students who never attend a religious service. With religious activity comes a decrease in criminal activity.
One theory behind this is the hellfire hypothesis which implies that people avoid various criminal activities for fear of angering whatever higher power they follow. IT should also be noted that many religions discourage criminal behavior while encouraging respect for local authorities.
The traits shared here are not self-fulfilling prophecies. Young people do not have to commit crimes, nor do men or people who did not attend college. On the other hand, being older, female, or religious does not mean that a person is not capable of breaking the law. Trends found in data are different from individual choice.