An investigative analysis of the reasons that turn adolescents into criminals – evidence from the UK

Criminal cases are on the rise in the United Kingdom and particularly in cities such as London. Reports from the police indicate that knife and gun-related crimes increased by 14% last year. In London, half of the knife-related cases were committed by children. Crime among adolescents has been on the increase in the UK. Reports released by Youth Justice System in 2018, indicate that there were 14500 cases of new entrants into the system.

In the United Kingdom, a young offender is anyone aged between 10 to 17 years who have been found guilty for more than three offenses in a criminal court. Crime among adolescents is caused by several reasons. First, lack of supervision and love from parents and guardians. Adolescents need love from parents more than anyone else. Lack of love and supervision from parents makes them turn into delinquent behavior. It makes them feel isolated. This makes them bitter and angry. They direct this negative energy into crime.

Secondly, peer pressure. Adolescents with friends who are criminals are more likely to engage in criminal activities. Teens like committing crimes in groups. It increases excitement and reduces the risk of getting caught. In London, half of the cases of knife-related crimes were committed by young offenders. 41% were aged 15 to 19 years. 8% were aged 10 to 14 years.

Also, poverty contributes to adolescents engaging in crime. Lack of basics such as food, shelter, and clothing leads innocent kids to crime. They start with petty theft and the behavior gets worse. They end up becoming criminals. Children who have disruptive behaviors such as bullying also end up committing crimes. Victims of bullying commit crimes as they seek revenge.

Misuse of drugs and alcohol also leads adolescents to crime. Adolescents are prohibited from consuming drugs and alcohol. They affect their decision making and can lead them to commit crimes that they never intended to commit. Finally, failure to attend school makes children idle. This creates time for them to plan and execute crimes.

With the rise of crimes among children, and the number of young offenders increasing in the UK. It is high time that the government together with parents, education institutions and law enforcement authorities come up with ways to end this vice. Each of these entities has a role to play in molding better children and adolescents.


Boxford, S., 2013. Schools and the Problem of Crime. Willan.

Bhatt, G., Tweed, R., Dooley, S., Viljoen, J., Douglas, K., Gagnon, N. and Besla, K., 2012. Gender differences in character strengths, social connections, and beliefs about crime among adolescents. International Journal of Social Sciences and Humanity Studies, 4(1), pp.149-159.

Milgram, G.G., 1993. Adolescents, alcohol, and aggression. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement, (11), pp.53-61.

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