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Social Perceptions

Introduction to Social Perceptions

Social perception can be defined as views and attitude of people towards the particular area, individual and society. The pattern of thinking can affect a person's perception of others. The social contexts, in which an individual meet someone, can play a large part in whether the perception of someone will be positive or negative (Pitts, 2008). This essay determines changes in perception of people towards the young age people due to various criminal offenses etc. In the present era, Social relations that plays very important role in socialization are collapsing due to lifestyle trajectories are going to become more varied and less foreseeable. The reconstruction of labour market and the expansion of the maturity gap (the period of dependence of young adults on the family) are providing limited opportunities to become an independent adult along with management of relationships with family and friends (Alleyne and Wood, 2010). It also influences the educational opportunities and choices along with leisure activities and lifestyles of individual.

This kinds of situation is not only faced by young age of people of developed countries but also in developing countries. There are various factors influencing youth, crime and delinquency. It includes rapid growth of population, lack of proper housing and support services, poverty, unemployment and underemployment among youth age people along with overcrowding in city areas, the disintegration of the family and improper education (Sharp, Aldridge and Medina, 2006). Young age people belongs from different origins and nationality identify some risky opportunities for individual needs in which some are beneficial and some are potentially harmful for them. In order to take advantages of these illegal opportunities, young people commit wide range of offenses such as addicted to drugs along with uses of violence. This essay presents various aspects and causes of increment in criminal activities among age people.


Youth offence varied over the time

Offending among young age people has been placed as a center of public authority and various policy makers in recent years. Huge media coverage of high-profile  assessed engagement of young people in various criminal operations (Bernburg, Krohn and Rivera, 2006). In this regards, public perceptions matter such as as agendas of government and policies are greatly influenced by criminal activities among young age  people. In this regards various past studies and survey along with legal laws define and assess the trends in criminal activities and offenses among young age people. With reference to Annual British Crime Survey (BCS), it is easy to assess  crime levels in England and Wales (Piquero, 2012). The BCS also facilitates wide range of attitudinal standard such as change in public perceptions due to change in crime levels, concern about crime and behaviour, etc. Furthermore, BCS also assesses huge growth in non-reported crimes as compared to police record data among young age people.

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In addition to that Annual criminal statistics also provides various aspects of young age offenses that are either recorded or not in police records. On the basis of self survey reports on  offending, crime and justice Survey (Omboto, 2012). There are various longitudinal elements and criminal offenses are identified among young age people such as change in individual behaviour over time, damaging or destroying others property, setting fire to something not belonging from an individual, stealing  anything from a shop, supermarket along with department store, stealing of anything from a car , threatening somebody with a weapon in order to get money and other valuables items, hurting  someone with a knife stick and other weapons (Gatti and, 2005). All these activities are coming under criminal activities that greatly influence perception of people towards the laws of government authority and youth. It has been assessed that participation in offending is 55% males and 31% females, more than 3% of offenders commit 26% of criminal activities and black and white  young people had similar participation in these offending. On the basis of MORI annual youth survey that covered both offending and victimization amongst 11 to 16-year-olds in mainstream education, it has been identified that 27% admitted offending in last year (Omboto, 2012).

On the basis of various historical data and growth in offending among young people, there are various alteration in legal proceedings identified. In this regards, emergence of juvenile court has been identified in US. It can be considered as one of the greatest advances court for managing of child welfare and offenses (Lesko, 2012). This court has developed various revolutionize procedures and treatment of delinquency and neglected children and developed basis for similar laws within various nations. In this regards, Children Act 1908 has been come into the force which was also known  as the ‘Children’s Charter'. This law assumed that juveniles were less responsible for their actions as compared to adults. It also promotes establishment of separate juvenile courts for dealing with young age criminals (Krohn and, 2010). This law has put restrictions on imprisonment for young people as well as encourage greater use of probation. After that, various changes have been made in this law in order to differentiate child welfare and justice.

Social construction of ‘youth’ and ‘delinquency’.

This new construction of childhood is playing important role in invention of juvenile delinquency in which children were socially separated from the adults. In order to manage criminal activities among young age people and mental and social development, social construction of youth and management of delinquency are essential (Halsey and White, 2008). In this regards, two trends identified related to this such as sentimentalisation of childhood along with construction of a new category that can be termed as the transition from childhood to adulthood: adolescence. In this regards, young children are considered and having criminal background along with young  people who are attracting for illegal activities. In the process of social construction, younger people starts transformation from a domestic economic resource to meet specific objective of society along with avoidance of criminal offences by children (Martin and, 2011). In this aspect, young age people  learn the roles and responsibilities of adulthood. It is very effective strategy to protect and civilise urban working class groups for  delinquency act done by youth.

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People perception of youth crime and delinquency

The section examines the perception of people towards youth crime that is conducted on the basis of secondary studies that were held in society. It is analyzed that the people are having tendency of exaggerate the crime committed by youngsters. The society perceives the crime committed by young people in a negative sense (Cunningham, 2009). Most of the time they get overestimation that the young people who have committed the offence for the first time will trend to commit more crimes in the future. It has been assessed that criminal activities are  strongly related with a victim’s behavior. A victim’s reaction sometimes can be considered as an offender. On the other hand, appropriate behavior can prevent an illegal act (Juvenile DELINQUENCY, 2003). According to scientific study, the probability of becoming a victim is affiliated to the individual characteristics or qualities of a person along with a social role or situation that can encourage and  facilitate criminal behavior in the form of individual or family status, economic condition and safety. It also includes logistical elements such as time and place where disagreement occurs and can also determine the extent of victimization. This aspect is also greatly influencing individual perception towards young people’s offending and victimisation.

People who may turn into accidental victims due to any kind of assault is happened by social and various other factors (McAra and McVie, 2010). On the basis of psychological types, there are three most important and adolescent victims of violence identified such as accidental victims, people willing to become victims along with inborn victims.  In the majority of cases, the delinquent people can be considered as offenders and victims resulted by bodily and mentally harm. The offender and his victim are familiar with each other such as spouses, relatives or friends etc (Cunneen and White, 2011). This is true for 80 per cent of murders and 70 per cent of sexual crimes are done by well known person.

Factors influence criminal activities among youth

There are various causes of young age crimes in identified in different nationality, culture etc. In this regards, the Juvenile delinquency is resulted by the negative outcomes of social and economic development in the form of economic or financial crises  and political instability along with  the weakening of major institutions such as police, government etc (Mocan and Rees, 2005). Furthermore, Socio-economic instability also encourages criminal activities within young age people such as   unemployment and low earnings among the young. In Africa, delinquency is occurred by  hunger, poorness, malnutrition as with unemployment that could impact negatively on various other segments of society. The rapid population growth also influences offenses among young age people (Brown, 2005). In this regards, the major criminal acts committed by young people are theft, smuggling, prostitution along with drug trafficking.

There are various cultural and social factors identified that influence delinquent behaviour.  In this aspect, various social rules that discourage people from committing socially unacceptable acts and may suffers some members of society. These  elements influence people in order to respond in the form of destructive changes in the social reality by participating in rebellious and even criminal activities (Quinn and, 2005). For example: modernization of traditional societies in the form of change in social characteristics, lifestyles and living arrangements has greatly influenced social structure of society. In both developed and developing countries, consumer standards developed by the media are substantially not achievable for most families. All these elements greatly influence young people to maintain a lifestyle but they cannot afford (Sharp, Aldridge and Medina, 2006). This is because not all social groups have access to all kinds of essential resources such as education, high effective professional training, adequate employment and financial gain, proper health services along with satisfactory housing by legal means.

The opposition between idealized and ethnically approved goals along with restricted real-life opportunities to attain them legally encourage frustration in young people. A criminal career is starting form of assessment of the contradiction (Scott and Steinberg, 2008). Excessive focus on proposed goals can be considered as an important cause of delinquent behaviour for achieving success. The likeliness of unethical acts is also occurring due to not only on the unavailability of legal chance but also on the level of access to illegal opportunities. By encouraging easy access of illegal opportunities, various young people formulates their own groups and resort to drug use for mental and emotional escape. The usage of alcohol and illegal drugs by young age people can be considered as one the important cause of delinquency (Halsey and White, 2008). In this regards, they are commit crimes especially theft for obtaining of the cash required to acquire drugs and other things.

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Urbanization can be evaluated as the most important cause of criminal mentality among  young age people. The ongoing process of urbanization in developing nations is playing significant role for increasing the involvement of juvenile in criminal behavior (Stahlkopf, Males and Macallair, 2010). The primary features of the urbanization are creation of new forms of social relationships that are mainly  derived from weakening of capital social relations along with control, improving dependence on the media as compared to informal communication. These structures are developed by the higher population density, education level along with numbers of people related from city areas.

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In Asian countries, juvenile crime and delinquency are mainly carried out in urban cities (Lesko, 2012). It has been identified that young people can be considered as most criminally active segment of the population. It has been assessed by evaluating increment in number of violent acts committed by young people along with increase in drug-related offences and high growth in female young age criminal. The financial crisis that has occurred in  some countries in East as well as some South-East Asia in the late 1990s that created economic inactiveness and contraction and promoted large-scale unemployment among age people (Bernburg, Krohn and Rivera, 2006). For millions of young people, this meant a loss of identity and the opportunity for self-actualization.

Furthermore, families play significant role in young age crimes. It has been analyzed that  children who assess proper parental supervision are less likely to participating in criminal operations (Omboto, 2012). On the other hand, dysfunctional family setting that can be characterized by conflict among family member, lacking of parental control, weak internal support and integration along with  premature autonomy that are intimately related with juvenile delinquency. Children that have few opportunities for lawful job and face a higher risk of cultural exclusion are greatly influenced towards unethical and illegal activities. The plight of ethnic minorities and migrants, including displaced persons and refugees in certain parts of the world, is especially distressing (Cunningham, 2009). The countries in change of state are facing various challenges in this respect that are greatly  associated with insecurity among children and juveniles who are neglected by their parents and suffering abuse and violence at home.

The family can be considered as a social institution that is currently experiencing  substantial changes such as  the increase in one-parent families and non-marital unions. It has been identified that the absence of fathers in various low-income families can influence children for joining of delinquent groups (Gatti and, 2005). These groups can be considered as substitute for the family and contribute to the acquiring of various attributes in the form of cruelty, strength, excitability and anxiety. In this regards, the importance of family is greatly identified for controlling the behavior of individuals. For example: Success of children in school is greatly depending on capacity of  parents for providing  “opening” opportunities such as including the resources to buy books and manuals and pay for studies to their children. Adolescents from low-income families often feel excluded (Alleyne and Wood, 2010). Furthermore, in order to gain self-esteem and improve their status, young age people  may take decisions for joining a juvenile delinquent group. These groups offers equivalent opportunities to everyone that are not acquired of children from their school and family. In this groups, major authorities are occupied by adults.

For example: If a young people are encouraged by adult offenders then the possibility of their participation in adult crime becomes more real. The criminalization of the family is also created huge impact on selection of delinquent trajectories among young age people (Martin and, 2011). It has been examined that families who involved in criminal activities are also pushed their younger members of family towards violating the law and illegal business practices.

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The media is playing significant role in order to promote illegal activities among young age boys. Television and movies have gained popularity with the “cult of heroes” that encourage social justice with the help of the physical removal of enemies (Piquero, 2012). Many researchers have found that young people who watch violence and other such kinds of movies are tending to behave more aggressively as well as violently. This is generally identified among children belong from  8- to 12-year-old who are more assailable to such encouragement. Media bring an individual towards the violence with the help of three ways (Cunneen and White,  2011). First, movies with violence elements encourages spectators and the aggressiveness can be moved to everyday life of an individual along with  pushing an small boys to participate in physical activity on the streets. This type of influence is very  temporary and for short period. Second, television can play most important role for generating of aggressiveness among young age people. It is impossible to find such television shows that do not contain such as patterns of violence (Krohn and, 2010). As a result, children are continually learn the use of violence  and illegal practices in different conditions. Over period of time, television can be become a major cause for shifting in the system of human values and indirectly influences children to view violence and can considered as important courageous way of reestablishing justice.

Gangs have played significant role in order to encourage young people towards the illegal activities. There are various street gangs emerged in different times and areas. In early period, a gang can be defined as a group of boys working from similar objectives (Bernburg, Krohn and Rivera, 2006). The major causes of emergence of gangs are growth in cities, immigration, urban overcrowding, corruption as well as racial conflicts.  The development of street gangs attracts young age people for getting justice through violence and also put young people in illegal activities for meeting of their needs and lifestyles. This context encourages for claiming and defending of territory, honor based conflicts  etc (Piquero, 2012). The young age people join these gangs for fulfilling of self-esteem along with status requirements. In addition, lower income and family background also encourages young people. It is identified that youth street gangs are very rarely structured in a proper manner (Halsey and White, 2008).  These gangs have managed complex link with drugs and violence and association with a gang doesn’t require to become member of gang. In addition to that gang involvement in various operations is not always permanent. All these factors influence children for becoming an important part of such kind of group (Sharp, Aldridge and Medina, 2006). In Europe, a youth gang can be considered as a troublesome youth group, is any durable, street-oriented youth group whose involvement in illegal activities for maintaining group identity.

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On the basis of above essay, it has been concluded that criminal activities and juvenile delinquency among young people are greatly influenced by alteration in social, political, economic structure of society. The essay defines that people develops negative perception about  children belongs from any kinds of criminal activities they cannot understand the causes and elements that encouraged young boy towards as illegal activities. This essay concludes that social construction for youth plays most important for reducing the chances juvenile delinquency. It finds that street gangs and media have played most important role for encouraging young people towards serious criminal offences by altering their mental perception and beliefs.


  • Alleyne, E. and Wood, J. L., 2010. Gang involvement: Psychological and behavioral characteristics of gang members, peripheral youth, and nongang youth. Aggressive behavior. 36(6). pp.423-436.
  • Bernburg, J. G., Krohn, M. D. and Rivera, C. J., 2006. Official Labeling, Criminal Embeddedness, and Subsequent Delinquency A Longitudinal Test of Labeling Theory. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency. 43(1). pp.67-88.
  • Gatti, U. and, 2005. Youth gangs, delinquency and drug use: A test of the selection, facilitation, and enhancement hypotheses. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 46(11). pp.1178-1190.
  • Krohn, M. D. and, 2010. The development and impact of self-report measures of crime and delinquency. Journal of Quantitative Criminology. 26(4). pp. 509-525.
  • Martin, M. J. and, 2011. The enduring significance of racism: Discrimination and delinquency among black American youth. Journal of Research on Adolescence. 21(3). pp.662-676.
  • McAra, L. and McVie, S., 2010. Youth crime and justice: Key messages from the Edinburgh Study of Youth Transitions and Crime. Criminology and Criminal Justice. 10(2). pp.179-209.
  • Mocan, H. N. and Rees, D. I., 2005. Economic conditions, deterrence and juvenile crime: Evidence from micro data. American Law and Economics Review. 7(2). pp.319-349.
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