Not long ago, kids were considerably hopelessly delinquent when they skipped a day of school Today, many juveniles sell drugs, rape, rob, and shoot to kill. Many shocking reports of violent crimes committed by juveniles seem to have become commonplace. In September 1994 eleven- year old Robert Sandifer Jr.was shot in the head by teenage fellow gang members in Chicago. At the time of his death, Sandifer was being sought by police for the shooting death of a fourteen- year old girl. One month later, also in Chicago, two boys dropped five-year old Eric Morse from a fourteenth floor window because he refused to steal candy for them. On the evening of January 21, 1995, in San Diego, California, fourteen- year old Tony Hicks shot and killed Tariq Khamisa, a twenty year old pizza deliveryman, while attempting to rob him of pizza and cash. Also another incident in California, a six-year old boy beat and kicked a four-week old infant nearly to death during a burglary. Another recent tragedy occurred in April of 1999 was known to be the Columbine shooting where a bunch of high school kids went on a shooting spree injuring many fellow classmates. These unbelievable stories lends to the substance to the commonly held view that the number of violent juvenile crimes is increasing and that the perpetrators of such crimes are getting younger. In this society we find many shocking repeated reports from the media on incidents of extreme violence committed by minors- even by preteens. Adding to these horrific accounts we find that the perpetrators are often described as having no conscience, capable of killing over relatively trivial issues such as a disrespectful look or an article of clothing or even for no particular reasons whatsoever. About 2.3 million persons under the age of eighteen are arrested by law enforcement agencies in the United States each year, according to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. There are far more murders, rapes, and robberies, young people than in the past. The numbers of arrested in persons under the age of eighteen for violent crimes increased 62 percent between 1986 and 1999. And between the year 1985 and 1994, according to the Department of Justice, juvenile arrest increased 150 percent for murder, 103 percent for weapons law violations, 97 percent for aggravated assault, and 57 percent for robbery. Since the 1965, the arrest rate for juveniles charged with violent crimes has tripled. Having to live in this westernize society and for working in Juvenile Hall makes me want to find out more on why kids commit such violent acts leading to my question, What are the causes of delinquency?
Many theories concerning the causes of juvenile crime focus either on the individual or on the society as the major contributing influence. This may also be known as Socialization described in our sociology textbook by Alex Thio, which he defined as the process by which a society transmits its cultural values to its members. The suggested causes of child delinquency includes the corrupting influence of violence in the popular culture especially on television violence, the availability of firearms, and the environmental factors contribute to juvenile crime and violence.
Children who watched a lot of TV violence at 8 years of age have a higher propensity to commit crime by age 30. The impact of television violence on children has been debated since television first arrived in the American living room. Mortimer B. Zuckerman, a chairman and editor in chief for U.S. News and World Report, a national weekly magazine, argues that a concern over children s exposure to television violence is valid. Studies shows that the more violent TV programs children watch, the more likely they are to commit violent crimes. With sets turned on for the inner city for 11 hours a day with video, pay per view, and multiplying cable channels, TV has become the most constant companion fro American children. It has become the nations mom and pop, storyteller, baby sitter, preacher, and teacher. Our children watch an astonishing 5,000 hours by the first grade and 19,000 hours by the end of high school more time than they spend in school. By the age of 18 according to one estimate that a youngster will have seen 200,000 acts of violence on TV including 40,000 murderers. TV Guide looked at 10 channels on one normal 18-hour day program and found 1,846 individual acts of violence and every hour of prime time carries six to eight acts of violence.
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