According to a new study by Robert Brame of the University of North Carolina, one-third of young people are arrested by the time they are 23-years old. Most of the arrests are for underage drinking, petty theft, vandalism, and violent crime. Admittedly, the study indicates that violent crimes are relatively rare and that the high-rate of arrests may or may not signal increasing criminal behavior in young people. Nevertheless, the conclusion – that young people are engaging in more criminal activity – is hard to escape.
John Paul Wright of the University of Cincinnati’s Institute of Crime Science said, “The vast majority of these kids will never be arrested again.” However, the increasing number of young people being arrested is very worrying to experts. Those arrested share common problems: they come from poor neighborhoods, struggle in school, and have difficult home lives. An even though most of the arrests are for minor offenses that result in probation or other secondary punishments, offenders with previous arrests may be prosecuted as adults and be sentenced to prison.
Brame’s study propounded certain behavioral tendencies among to young people who are eventually arrested, including bullying, hyperactivity, and delayed development. Other studies have demonstrated that bullying, which often begins in elementary school, is a growing problem among adolescents. In some instances, bullying has resulted in adolescent suicide.
In an effort to combat these scary statistics, Brame suggested that parents utilize the expertise and services of their pediatricians, who are trained to spot disturbing behavior tendencies. Once the behavior is identified, appropriate counseling can be recommended.