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More Juvenile Suspects of Crime, But Why?

NCJ Number
A.M. van der Laan; M. Blom
Date Published
210 pages
This Dutch study used a literature review and the authors' own research in an effort to identify macro factors that might explain the increase over time of juveniles arrested for criminal offenses in the Netherlands.
The literature review first examines whether changes in the crime rates result from a single cause. The authors conclude from the literature that it is unlikely that developments in juvenile crime result from a single cause at the macro level. Other factors examined as to their influence on the crime rates of juveniles are education, stricter law enforcement, demographic developments, and substance use. Macro factors linked to changes in property crimes are incapacitation caused by imprisonment, youth unemployment among unskilled or less qualified youth, and low wages on the fringes of the labor market. The use of trafficking in hard drugs was mainly related to trends in violent crime rates. Macro factors that showed an influence on crime rates regardless of offense type are increased police levels, particularly in high-crime areas; an increase in the proportion of young men in the population and an increase in the proportion of foreign-born young men. An increase in the educational level was linked to diminished crime rates, except for white-collar crime. In addition to the literature review, the authors examined which developments in the areas of law enforcement, demography, social context, and economic circumstances in the Netherlands corresponded with the increase in the number of juveniles arrested for the period 1997-2007. They cite selective law enforcement that gives priority to the monitoring of juveniles and their activities, the decrease of informal social control within communities, youth unemployment, and the increased density of students in secondary education as possible links to an increase in the arrest rate for juveniles. 23 figures and an extensive list of references