Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

Understanding the reasons teens commit crimes

Teenage crime is a reality you've been aware of since your child became a teenager, something you have always worried about. You understand that one mistake at such a young age can alter someone's life forever. It could make it impossible to go to school and start a productive career. You do not want to see your child's life plans derailed over one decision made on an evening during these turbulent years.

It may help to understand some of the reasons why teens turn to criminal activity. A few common themes include:

Lack of money

Money drives a lot of simple crimes, like theft and even selling drugs. Teenagers tend to not have a steady income. Many don't work or only work part-time. They still want things, they cannot afford them and they take drastic measures to get what they want. It could even be an impulse decision -- walking into a store, seeing a video game they cannot afford, and deciding to slip it into a pocket.

Family problems

Issues at home can lead to crime in numerous ways, but we'll take a look at two main ones here. First off, teens who get no attention from their parents at home will still look for attention somewhere. Peers often fill that gap. This makes teens far more likely to give in to peer pressure. They do not feel accepted at home, so they do whatever others want them to do so they can feel accepted outside of the house.

The second way family problems lead to crime is that parents need to teach their children about ethical behavior. Kids need this base from a young age. When they do not get it, they may honestly not comprehend why they should not do something. They end up thinking that the only reason to refrain from crime is that they don't want to get caught, so they'll take chances if they think they can get away with them.

Peer pressure

As noted above, peers play a large role in teens' lives. They crave that acceptance. They want to show off for members of the opposite sex. They want to impress people. Many teens get caught up in the moment and give in to peer pressure.

Lack of understanding

Teens may technically know what ramifications come from crime, but they may not truly understand what it will be like in their lives. The reality of spending years in jail or having a permanent record is something that may not hit them until adulthood, when brain development actually ends and they can clearly see how their past choices changed their lives.

What can you do?

If your child does get in legal trouble, you need to know what you can do and all of the defense options that exist.

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Rosenblum Schwartz & Fry

120 South Central Avenue
Suite 130
Saint Louis, MO 63105

Phone: 314-499-1424
Fax: 314-862-8050
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