Literature Review

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Adolescent violence and crimes keep on increasing especially in the United States. According to Finkelhor et al., in 1974 there were 6,100,000 arrests made in relation to rape, homicide and robbery (2015). 27% of these offenses were committed by adolescents. It is an indication that these young adults are into crime and seriously need to be considered. It is important to consider the aggressiveness of the adolescents because gender influences this trait (Orue, Calvete & Gamez-Guadix, 2016). Therefore, crime rates among the young adults vary depending on the gender being considered. A study by Forster et al 2015 revealed that there is a connection between exposing the adolescents to gun, violence, gang association and aggressiveness that results to involvement in the crime. Most young adults involved in crime because of the environment where they have grown. Exposure to violence makes them more attracted to criminal activities from a young age.  Associations between gun violence exposure, gang associations, and youth aggression: Implications for prevention and intervention programs.

             The causes of crime in the adolescent vary among adolescents especially depending on the place of residence. According to Esiri 2016, these young adolescents mostly engage in crime because of peer pressure. They engage in groups and gangs that promote lawlessness in the society and hence end up into crime. Grinshteyn et al, on the other hand, describes that the neighborhood where the adolescents reside will determine the rate at which they engage in crime (2016). Young adults living in the suburbs are more likely to engage in crime as opposed to those living in the gated estates. Therefore, the environment plays a role in enhancing or deterring crime in adolescents.

            Most of the crime prevention programs focus generally on the behavior of the adolescents. However, they fail to consider other characteristics such as the ethnicity of a particular group or social influences that lead to crime (de Vries et al., 2015). This is the cause of failure in many of these programs. Adolescents whose problem is not understood from the beginning end up into crime again after the program. This is the reason why the rates of recidivism are high (Brame et al., 2018). As such crime prevention programs which do not focus on specific characteristics of a young adult are likely to fail.

            According to Day, Zahn and Tichavsky the major cause of the crime prevention programs is that they had ignored the girls’ factor in the involvement in the crime. Their numbers were considered to be small especially in crime. As such, with time the girls have become more involved in criminal activities. Secondly, crime prevention programs fail to put into consideration the most important factor in crime prevention. The mental status of an individual determines to a higher extent the rates of involvement in the crime. According to Heretick and Russell 2013, the mental health affects the crime rates as well as recidivism among the youth. Therefore, all crime prevention strategies adopted should consider the mental status of an individual.

             However, there are some crime prevention programs that are successful in preventing crime among adolescents. According to de Vries et al, adopting a new method that involves the use of new perspectives is an efficient way of deterring crime among young adults. These new perspectives are intensive community-based programs that focus on the delinquency behaviors of the adolescents at the early stages. This program uses the risk principle to assess the risk and provide treatment based on the risk of recidivism the offender has. Crime prevention programs also decrease their success rates because of the knowledge that is available concerning adolescent crimes. According to Paternoster 2010, adolescents who just bloom late into crime compromised the entire understanding. These are the people who seriously engage in crime as adolescents and stop by the time they reach adulthood. As a result, it becomes difficult to predict, contain and deter such adolescents.

             The crime prevention programs in adolescents have not failed completely. They are however not sufficient to provide support alone in society. According to Wilson and Hoge 2013, diversion programs are an effective way of dealing with juvenile delinquency. They are better methods of preventing crime as well as recidivism as opposed to the judicial system. After school programs are a way that has been introduced to engage the children in more fruitful efforts as opposed to leaving them on their own during holidays. According to Taheri and Welsh 2016, these programs have an effective positive effect on adolescents and hence enhancing their understanding of crime and violence in society. As such, they incorporate the youths in a bid to find a way forward in preventing delinquency.

              Successful measures in crime prevention and deterrence include positive youth development programs which are geared towards protective measures of adolescent delinquency. These programs enable young adults to fulfill their potential in society (Carr, 2014). It is important to include the youths in this prevention as it becomes possible to understand their needs. Therefore community-based programs that focus on the youths are more effective than using the crime prevention programs (Esq, 2013). This is because the society understands the needs of their children.

            Crime prevention in adolescents can be achieved through social developments programs. These programs are on their own crime prevention efforts as opposed to being drivers of preventing crime (Akers, 2017). They identify the “at risk” population and explores the social and economic factors within a particular group that can increase criminal behaviors. As such, prevention strategies geared at empowering as opposed to condemning the adolescents to prove to be more successful (Homel& Freiberg, 2017). This works in handy with the family-based strategies that are applied to prevent delinquency and later offending in life. These are the programs that target the family risk factors that can make children become criminals such as poverty and harsh discipline (Farrington, 2016). Through this, it is possible to incorporate the parents into understanding the right methods of punishment and also include a family therapy. These programs help curb crime from the family level hence enhance prevention.

            Therefore, the crime prevention programs for the adolescents that target behavioral change after the crime is committed experience lower success rates. This can be seen by high levels of people who go back to crime after the programs. However, they are important in the society because to some extent they curb and reduce crime among adolescents (Aos et al., 2018). Therefore, incorporating the family-based programs, community, youth empowerment and national strategies all help to overcome delinquency in adolescents, both girls and boys.


Akers, R. (2017). Social learning and social structure: A general theory of crime and deviance. Routledge.

Aos, S., Phipps, P., Barnoski, R., &Lieb, R. (2018). The comparative costs and benefits of programs to reduce crime: A review of research findings with implications for Washington State. In Costs and benefits of preventing crime (pp. 149-175).Routledge.

Brame, R., Mulvey, E. P., Schubert, C. A., &Piquero, A. R. (2018).Recidivism in a sample of serious adolescent offenders. Journal of quantitative criminology34(1), 167-187.

Carr, D. R. (2014). A Multidimensional Model of Religion and Spirituality in Positive Youth Development (Doctoral dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, School of Psychology).

Day, J. C., Zahn, M. A., &Tichavsky, L. P. (2015). What works for whom? The effects of gender responsive programming on girls and boys in secure detention. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency52(1), 93-129.

deVries, S. L., Hoeve, M., Assink, M., Stams, G. J. J., &Asscher, J. J. (2015). Practitioner review: effective ingredients of prevention programs for youth at risk of persistent juvenile delinquency–recommendations for clinical practice. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry56(2), 108-121.

deVries, S.L., Hoeve, M., Asscher, J.J. and Stams, G.J.J., 2018. The Long-Term Effects of the Youth Crime Prevention Program “New Perspectives” on Delinquency and Recidivism. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology, p.0306624X17751161.

Esiri, O. (2016). The influence of peer pressure on criminal behaviour. Journal of Humanities and Social Science21(1), 08-14.

Esq, C. S. (2013). Nothing About Us Without Us! The Failure of the Modern Juvenile Justice System and a Call for Community-Based Justice. Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk4(1), 1.

Farrington, D. P. (2016). Family Influences on Offending and Family-Based Intervention. In Women and Children as Victims and Offenders: Background, Prevention, Reintegration (pp. 211-237). Springer, Cham.

Finkelhor, D., Turner, H., Shattuck, A., Hamby, S., &Kracke, K. (2015). Children’s exposure to violence, crime, and abuse: An update. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Forster, M., Grigsby, T. J., Unger, J. B., &Sussman, S. (2015). Associations between gun violence exposure, gang associations, and youth aggression: Implications for prevention and intervention programs. Journal of criminology2015.

Grinshteyn, E. G., Eisenman, D. P., Cunningham, W. E., Andersen, R., &Ettner, S. L. (2016). Individual-and neighborhood-level determinants of fear of violent crime among adolescents. Family & community health39(2), 103-112.

Heretick, D. M., & Russell, J. A. (2013).The impact of juvenile mental health court on recidivism among youth. Journal of Juvenile Justice3(1), 1.

Homel, R., & Freiberg, K. (2017).Developmental Prevention.In The Palgrave Handbook of Australian and New Zealand Criminology, Crime and Justice (pp. 815-829). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Orue, I., Calvete, E., &Gamez-Guadix, M. (2016). Gender moderates the association between psychopathic traits and aggressive behavior in adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences94, 266-271.

Paternoster, R. (2010). How much do we really know about criminal deterrence?. The journal of criminal law and criminology, 765-824.

Taheri, S. A., & Welsh, B. C. (2016). After-school programs for delinquency prevention: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Youth violence and juvenile justice14(3), 272-290.

Wilson, H. A., &Hoge, R. D. (2013). The effect of youth diversion programs on recidivism: A meta-analytic review. Criminal Justice and Behavior40(5), 497-518.