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Peer pressure and juvenile crime

Statistics paint a fairly clear picture in most cities: Some neighborhoods see more arrests and more criminal activity than others.

For a long time, researchers have been trying to figure out why this happens. One reason they often note is economic conditions. Could these push a person to commit crimes that he or she would not have committed under better circumstances?

While that may be true, a new study has found that, at least for young people, peer pressure may be an even bigger contributing factor. Juveniles who see others in their peer group commit crimes may then be more likely to mimic this behavior and commit similar crimes on their own.

Of course, direct peer pressure exists. A group of teens works together to get one reluctant individual to commit a crime, perhaps threatening to exclude that person from the group otherwise.

Indirect peer pressure also plays a large role. Researchers were able to get addresses for previous juvenile offenders after they returned home. They then watched the surrounding area, and they saw notable spikes in crime if those young people who already had a record decided to commit more crimes.

Others in a close physical proximity did the same. Just having that person in the community, setting that example, seemed to influence other young people to turn to the same activities.

Are you the parent of a child who was arrested for committing a crime, perhaps after being pressured into it by his or her peers? If so, it is important for your family to know all of the criminal defense options that you have.

Source: Regis University, "Peer Pressure and the High-Crime Neighborhood," accessed May 03, 2018

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