Youth Violence - Dissertation Example

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Youth Violence
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Youth violence is a major problem in the Unites States. Former attorney general of the United States, Janet Reno, stated that youth violence was the greatest single crime problem in the United States (Kofi, 1996). …
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Download file to see previous pages Recent arrest data show that 2.14 million juveniles were arrested by law enforcement agencies in 2005 (Carr, 2008). These arrests covered the full range of crimes including, homicides, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Furthermore, youth accounted for one in every six arrests for all violent crimes in the United States (Snyder, 2000). Background Prior research suggests that an association between race and violent offending exists with racial minorities offending at a disproportional rate compared to Whites (Thornberry et al., 1998). Plausibly, this relation exists because racial minority peer groups mediate the race-violence relationship. Alternatively, because racial minorities tend to be among the population that is most impoverished, minorities may be more likely to be antagonistic due to their aversive social and economic conditions (Bernard, 1990). Ultimately, the influence of peer association and socioeconomic status could have a greater influence on Blacks than non-Blacks. Literature Review Relationship between Race and Violent Crime in Youths Several longitudinal delinquency studies examine the causes and correlates of youth delinquency. The Denver Youth Study used a sample of 1,527 boys and girls from high risk neighborhoods in Denver. These 1,527 boys and girls were a sample of 7, 9, 11, 13, and 15 year olds in 1987 (Huizinga, et al., 1998). The Denver Youth Study found that over a 5 year period (1987-91) most of the Black youths in the sample were in fact both victims and perpetrators of violent crime (Huizinga, et al., 1998). Loeber, et al. (1998) conducted research on 1,517 inner city boys from Pittsburgh in the Pittsburgh Youth Study. The sample consisted of first, fourth, and seventh graders from inner city Pittsburgh where 30 percent of sample were pre-screened students who exhibited especially disruptive behavior. The remaining 70 percent were a random sample selection of the remaining population. The Pittsburgh Youth Study found high levels of involvement in serious delinquency among its sample. No differences between Black and White boys were found at age 6, but differences gradually developed with prevalence of serious delinquency at age 16 reaching 27 percent for Blacks and 19 percent for Whites (Loeber, et al., 1998). Criminal violence is an enduring issue in urban America and this concern may not be equally serious for all communities. One of the more overt differences is between the violence levels of Blacks and Whites (Krivo & Peterson, 2000). Black violent offending has ranged from 6.2 to 9.5 times that of Whites over the past twenty years. Krivo and Peterson (2000) argued that one possibility for the racially differing rates of offending occurring is because the crime-generating processes are conditioned by the social situations of Blacks and Whites. Possible Mediators of the Race-Violence Relationship Socioeconomic Status Elliott (1994) with results from the longitudinal National Youth Survey posited that racial differences in violence varied across socioeconomic status, where employed Blacks and Whites had similar, continuous violent behavior in contrast to unemployed Blacks who were significantly more likely to behave more violently than unemployed Whites. It is certainly plausible that the nature of socioeconomic status has great influence on the violent behavior of people. Paschall, et al. (1998) found that impacts of socioeconomic disadvantage on violent behavior were clearly more profound for Black young adults than White young adults. Socioeconomic status could perhaps provide another explanation for differences in exposure to both violence and violent peers. Racial differences in violence may be a result of the lower socioeconomic sta ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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