Did you know that 9% of murders in the U.S. are committed by youth under the age of 18? Teens under 18 also account for about 15% of violent crime arrests. (Source: National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center)
It seems crazy that so many young people are physically and mentally capable of harming another person, but many of these youth have been exposed to violence and crime their whole lives. Maybe you’ve seen violence being used as a way to solve a problem, but have you ever seen it actually make a situation better?
The reality is that violence and crime hurt everyone. Without help, a person who commits one crime is more likely to do it again and again, making the situation more and more unstable and often leading to a tragic ending. But you can help. If you are afraid a friend is getting involved in crime or is at risk of becoming violent, look for these warning signs:
- Loss of temper on a daily basis
- Frequent physical fighting
- Significant vandalism or property damage
- Increase in use of drugs or alcohol
- Increase in risk-taking behavior
- Detailed plans to commit acts of violence
- Announcing threats or plans for hurting others
- Enjoying hurting animals
- Carrying a weapon
If you are worried about being a victim of violence, contact your local Safe Place program or find someone in authority who can protect you. Never resort to violence or use a weapon to protect yourself.
Websites to Visit
Check out these websites for more information about juvenile crime:
Statistics – Violence (Source: SADD):
- An estimated 17% of students carried a weapon to school in 2001.
- Approximately 33% of students were in a physical fight in 2001.
- Approximately 10% of students were injured as a result of dating violence in 2001.
- Homicide is the second leading cause of death among ages 15 to 24.
- In 1999, 4,998 youths ages 15 to 24 were murdered, an average of 14 per day.