Social Perceptions: Criminal Behaviours

Introduction To Criminal Behaviours

Criminal behaviours among young generation is the major issue that is going to be discussed in the present chapter. Young generation defined as the group of people who have transition from childhood to adulthood (Barry, 2007). The behaviour of young people are too complex and confusing as they go through in a stage where they do not have understanding of what is wrong and what is right. The essay here with discusses the social perceptions towards Youth, Crime & Delinquency. The statistics on youth crime are also represented in the report. Further, the social construction of ‘youth’ and ‘delinquency’ is presented throughout the study. The major attention is paid to changes held in social attitudes towards young people’s offending and victimisation. Variety of factors affecting particular crimes committed by young people e.g. youth sub-cultures, economic factors, riots and disturbance are taken into account. The chapter concludes with a role of media to the phenomena.

Youth And Criminal Activities

Youth generation today, is not too much concerned about social values thus, their relationships and transitions between family and workplace are being challenged due to this behaviour. From last few years, people and policy makers have been seen more concerned about offending amongst young people (Goldson and Muncie, 2006). In addition, the recent data revealed that young generations are becoming increasingly criminalised. However, some studies have found the reason behind such tendency as many factors are affecting young people for moving towards criminal activities.

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The image of young people in the society is under threat due to the recent cases held in developing as well as developed countries, that are concerned to youth criminal activities (James, 2005). According to the study of British Crime Survey (BCS) the number of youth crimes have been increased after 1980s and reached to its peak till 1995. However, the same survey revealed that levels of crime was decreased after 2005 due to new policies that were designed to deal with youth crimes.

The image of young people in the society is under threat due to the recent cases held in developing as well as developed countries, that are concerned to youth criminal activities (James, 2005). According to the study of British Crime Survey (BCS) the number of youth crimes have been increased after 1980s and reached to its peak till 1995. However, the same survey revealed that levels of crime was decreased after 2005 due to new policies that were designed to deal with youth crimes.

Youth Offence Varied Over The Time

To make comment over the data, It is important to identify the authentic sources for data collection. In order to present the evidence on youth crime three principal sources are gone through (Young people, crime and public perceptions, 2014). These include: the official crime statistics, self-report surveys and offending surveys. Most of the victimization surveys offers strong evidence that youth crimes are now stable. Through a survey, it was identified that after 1995 the crime are reported over less 8 million (Vaughan, 2011). According to the survey of BCS, the crime rate of 2007 was not having any significant change from 2006. As per the evidence of Annual criminal statistics that most of the crimes are not yet reported therefore, it is difficult to found the actual figures. MORI annual report survey has presented that level of criminal activities amongst youth of 11 to 16-year-olds (Juvenile delinquency, 2014). To the view of statistics presented through National Crime Recording Standard, the number of recorded crime committed by youth have been raised in 2004 as compared to 2003. Further, the recorded crime has fallen by 10% between 2004 and 2007. As per the police record, the number of recorded crime has been decreased after 2007 by 2% (Doob and Cesaroni, 2004).

The statistics shows that various reports and surveys are showing that youth offending remains elusive. It was identified that Juvenile delinquency is another issue that is associated with youth crime in which minors show illegal behaviour towards society and public (Tonry and Doob, 2004). There are number of studies have been conducted in regard to juvenile delinquency that focuses towards youth offenders (Williams, 2004) However, there were number of victims of delinquent acts that have seriously impacted to the value of society. As per the data, about 80% of violent incidents were not reported. Most of the crimes have commented by male youths as compared to females. The violence are made between the age of 16 and 19 years and most of them are male. As per the recent study 105 in every 1,000 men become crime victims on the other hand 80 per 1000 females are having such trend (Barry, 2007). In the study, it was found that most of the crimes are held with same age group of youth offender.

Cases On Different Countries Relating Youth Crime

The study conducted by University of Cambridge found that teenagers are responsible for juvenile crimes. It has been seen that majority of youth criminal have committed 86 crimes each by the age of 16. The major reasons behind such data is the absence of sense of morality (Waters, 2009). Many of teenagers found opportunity to commit crime and their social background was too loss that allows them to commit a crime like robbery. In this way social background was found to be the most crucial factor that allows youngsters to break the law. As per the study 16% youth criminal have said that their weakest moral sense and self-control is the most critical factor that lead to recorded crimes (Juvenile delinquency, 2014). They have said that 60% crimes committed by then are leaded by moral sense and losing self control. In their study, Cambridge researchers has investigated total of 700 teenagers form the areas where crime level is too high. The teenagers between 12- 15 years were asked for their attitudes to lawlessness or if they have committed crime once in a life. The responses were reviewed or cross-checked by police records (Williams, 2004).

Many of juvenile delinquency can be found universal in which the youth offenders have differed region to another. The culture of the region from which criminals are from, impacts a lot to their behaviours (Juvenile delinquency, 2014). According to Monaghan (2001) different countries have different perceptions toward trend of youth crime and delinquency. The studies conducted by many authors revealed that the youth crime and delinquency are approached to the younger generation due to hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and unemployment. Most of the young people commence criminal activities to overcome the problems. The population of world is increasing rapidly that represents more tension among youngsters in their teenage and to overcome the trouble they tend towards criminal activities.

African region is facing lots of problems concerning to poverty and unemployment. This is a result of increasing rapid population in Africa. In order to overcome such issue the young people are involved in crimes such as robbery (Juvenile delinquency, 2014). Many of times this lead to murder which is such a dangerous crime. On the other has, it has been seen that 790,000 people enter in African labour market while the economy generates employment for 60,000 jobs. In addition, the data revealed that about half of people in Africa belongs to poverty line and they have lack of basis services. Most of the poor crowd is youth and children, this is the reason of increased street crimes in Africa. In this way, it can bed said that youth crime and delinquency are linked to the rapid and dramatic social, political and economic conditions. The young people of Africa are involved in robbery, prostitution, drug trafficking and smuggling.

In Asian region youth crime and delinquency is found to urban regions and it has been seen that the young people from the active segment of Asian population commit crimes (Juvenile delinquency, 2014). The youth of Asian region are involved in number of violent acts from which drug-related offence is the major committed crime in that region (Juvenile delinquency, 2014). On the other hand most of the criminal act are marked growth in respect to female juvenile delinquency. There has been financial crises in such East and South-East Asian regions that leads to economic stagnation and unemployment. During that time most of the youth people have lost their identity and opportunity of growth that has influenced them to involve in criminal activities (Jhon and, 2014).

On the other hand, in Latin America, the young people have faced the issues related to economic problems such as debt crisis, poverty and unemployment that have lead then to involve in delinquency and criminal activities.

People Perception Of Youth Crime And Delinquency

The section herewith presents the perception of people towards youth crime that is conducted on the basis of secondary studies that were held in society. The views of public towards crime and their attitude towards youth offenders is identified in this section.

Waters (2004) has commented that there is not sufficient information is available regarding the perception of society towards youth crime. They further exclaimed that public perceive the youth crime is higher than compared to its actual level. The investigation has made evidence on the issues relating to public perceptions of youth crime and revealed that most of the people so not known the whole thinks about cases (Young people, crime and public perceptions, 2014). The study conducted by Kelly (2012) have found that the people are having tendency of exaggerate the crime committed by youngsters. The society perceives the crime committed by young people in a negative sense. Most of the time they get overestimation that the young people who have committed the offence for the first time will trend to commit more crimes in the future. The investigation done by Tonry and Doob (2004) have revealed that majority of people overestimate young people’s involvement in to overall offensive activities. There was a study conducted by BCS has shown that the most of the people from society believe that all the criminal activities are conducted by young people. The study further mentioned that most of the crimes after 1997 are committed by young people ages between 10 to 17 years. The studies conducted by Doob and Cesaroni (2004) have shown that young people between 15 to 20 years are seen to be criminal. The investigation of Barry (2007) has shown that 1001 adults have found that average of 47 % youth they known, have committed crime ever in life. Cushion (2007) has put investigation and found that people are agreed that most of the criminal activity are committed by young people in comparison to adult offenders (Young people, crime and public perceptions, 2014). The society perception over the phenomena have been developed after viewing the number of crimes committed by youth. According to some legal bodies juvenile group crime is nots occurred between the age of 14-year- to 17-year-olds. The people were agreed that the cases of theft, rape, robbery and bodily harm are trend top committed by young people. Some investigations show that most of the perception of people is not based upon their personal experiences. They influenced the wordings of other people and the media news. Even most of the people are not aware about the whole case bot they give their opinion based on other's experience (Young people, crime and public perceptions, 2014).

In the investigation of Goldson and Muncie (2006) have identified that external factors including media reporting and family & friends affect the perception of society towards youth crime. Further, media play a great role in shaping public’s view of youth crime. In the study conducted by Jhon and, 2014. Waters (2009) the negative correlation was found between perception of youth and actual crime. It can be said that people do not perceive youth crime in the same manner in which it is committed. Sometimes, they misjudge the actions of youth in a criminal activity. This perception is seen in the area where the crime level is too high. The recent study conducted by MORI, revealed that 70% of people living in criminal areas views that young people are surly involved in half of the crime held in the area. In this regard, youth crime and delinquency liked to social and economic situation of countries (Young people, crime and public perceptions, 2014). The reason behind involving in criminal activities can be different but the main cause is mentioned as unemployment.

Factors Influencing Youth Crime

Youth crime in recent some years has increased by substantial margins, because of which modern societies and communities are getting hampered in a very negative way, thwarting their growth and progress (John and 2014). If authorities and relevant bodies do not take step to control the same, then the youth crime would increase by great margins, hampering growth of the individual(s) as well as the society. It is a concept which has risen and emerged as a result of actions by a large variety of factors and forces. In this sense, it may not be wrong to say that there are many factors that influence and many promote crime among youth (Monaghan, 2001).

One such major factor is that of the economic factors. It has been found in many studies that the main reason behind youth getting involved in different crimes is poverty and adverse economic climate of the region they may be living in (Perry, 2001). It can be supported through fact that during Eurozone crisis, number of young criminals had increased by great margin in European countries (Williams, 2004). Various scholars and psychologists in this context have stated that due to poverty and non availability of any other option to earn a living, resort to criminal activities. Furthermore, numerous studies on the topic have revealed that majority of young people have become criminals, as they belong to lower levels of social hierarchy (Lo, 2005). Since they are left with no other option than to engage into criminal activities, the rate of youth crimes have increased in European countries in recent some years. In support of it Goldson and Muncie (2006), states that with delinquency rate decreases with decline in social class and status. Thus, it may not be wrong to say that if an individual belongs to lower sections of the society, then there are chances that they may sooner or later engage into criminal activities, so that they can survive and make a living (Young people, crime and public perceptions, 2014). There is another aspect to it as well, which states that a young person may become criminal, if his family's condition is not very good. Cushion (2007) explains this concept by stating an example where a young individual is the sole bread winner of the family, but since he is uneducated and lack of experience will not get him any job; stealing money or any other such criminal activities can be the only option to earn money available to him (Barry, 2007).

Another reason for increase in youth criminal rate can be accorded to socio-economic structure of modern socities. It has been seen recently that more and more young people are becoming drug addicts (Juvenile delinquency, 2014). According to Williams (2004), drug abuse is a very prominent reason behind increase in number of young criminals. Since they do not have access to enough money to buy drugs, nor can they ask their parents for the same, committing crime is the only option that they are left with. Herein Perry (2001), recalls that the habit of taking drugs at any cost, even if they have to commit some crime for the same is turning the young people into criminals, due to which it is negatively influencing the society as well as the concerned individuals (Doob and Cesaroni, 2004). Peer pressure is another very prominent aspect that has resulted in increased criminal activities among young people. Many authors believe that peer pressure is also a reason for young individuals taking drugs. Various sections of the modern society consider taking drugs as a 'cool' thing which makes them trendy as well as makes them 'stand out' from the rest of their friends and colleagues. In a bid to look cool and trendy, majority of the young people are turning towards consumption of drugs as the best way to make a unique and popular image for themselves among their friends (Cushion, 2007).

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Gangs that operate in societies also have increased substantial. There are many kinds of gangs that exist, but in order to successfully operate, getting young people to join the group is critical. This is the only effective way through which they can function and also maintain their image (James, 2005). For the same, it has been observed that these gangs recruit individuals at a very young age and train and nurture them on such fronts. Various authors have said that this is one of the main reasons behind increasing criminal activities among young people. Similarly, media also has a crucial say on this aspect (Kelly, 2012). The way modern day heros are portrayed in film is also turning young people into criminals. It can be supported through fact that contemporary heroes are shown as thieves and criminals in order to build a unique image of theirs in the market, but children and young people start to copy them, thus they also start doing criminal activities (Goldson and Muncie, 2006).


The aim of constructing present essay is to define the social perception towards youth crime and delinquency. In order to portray a clear picture of youth crime, various statistics have been shown in the report. The study revealed that people and policy makers have become more concerned about criminal activities of young people as it affects the development of nations. The issue has been found in developing as well as developed countries. The report concluded that the perception of society is negative towards youth crime and delinquency. Further, rapid growth of population, lack of proper housing, poverty and unemployment have been found to be the factors influencing youth crime.

You may also like to read: 


  • Cushion, S., 2007. Book Review: Understanding Youth and Crime: Listening to Youth? (2nd edn). Crime, Media, Culture.
  • Doob, A. and Cesaroni, C., 2004. Responding to youth crime in Canada. University of Toronto Press.
  • Goldson, B. and Muncie, J., 2006. Youth, crime and justice. SAGE.
  • James, A., 2005. Book Review: Joined-up Youth Justice: Tackling Youth Crime in Partnership. Youth Justice.
  • Kelly, L., 2012. Representing and Preventing Youth Crime and Disorder: Intended and Unintended Consequences of Targeted Youth Programmes in England. Youth Justice.
  • Lo, T., 2005. Book Review: Youth Crime and Youth Culture in the Inner City. Crime, Media, Culture.
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