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It’s not environment but moral values that prevent young people from committing crime

Date: (25 June 2012)    |    

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A new study by Cambridge University on children committing crime has said that children commit crime because of lacking morals and not just because of their environment they live in.
The study was conducted on 700 young people in Petersborough for over a decade and discovered that most adolescent crime was not just a youthful opportunism.
Though the study said that urban environments did trigger some young people to commit crime, but their morality was the biggest factor.
There are other teenagers who remain highly resistant to committing crime, regardless of their environments.
The Peterborough Adolescent and Young Adult Development Study was carried out by Cambridge’s Institute of Criminology.
The findings from the first five years of the study from ages 12-16 have just been published in the book ‘Breaking Rules’. There were self reporting’s by young people who reported of 16,000 crimes in the study period.
The most common types of crime carried out by youths were being violent, vandalism and shoplifting. The study said that even though crime was believed to be natural part of teenage life the fact which came to light was that a third of the teenagers never committed any crime.
The study suggested that a major reason for some young people do not commit crime was not for the fear of consequences but it was their morality which just prevents them from even considering crime as a possible course of action in the first place.
The bulk of offences were committed by a small group, with around four per cent responsible for almost half the crime and the overwhelming majority of the most serious property crimes such as burglaries, robberies and car theft.
Often beginning before the age of 12, the most persistent offenders in the study also committed a wide range of offences.
Young people at the other end of the spectrum do not care very much about breaking the rules of the law and tend to be impulsive and short-sighted, leaving them more vulnerable to the temptations of crime.
The 16 per cent most ‘crime-prone’ young people committed 60 per cent of the crimes, while the 16 per cent most ‘crime-averse’ were only responsible for 0.5 per cent of the crimes.
Professor Per-Olof H Wikström, responsible for the study, said many young people were averse to crime and simply don’t perceive crime as a possible course of action, it doesn’t matter what the situation is.
The idea that opportunity makes the thief, that young people will inevitably commit crime in certain environments, runs counter to the findings.