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CAUSES OF JUVENILE CRIME

There has been no extensive research into the causes of juvenile crime in Slovenia; however, some limited studies and research might offer some degree of insight into what the causes may be. The sudden rise in the proportion of property crime may be, to an extent, attributed to the upsetting economic downturn after 2008. The rates of child poverty, while still comparatively low, have risen in the past years, causing more and more strain between the perceived necessary goods for youngsters and the ability to obtain them in a law-abiding manner (Leskosek 2015). Child poverty has, moreover, not been properly addressed by the Slovenian government (Stropnik 2013) and many of the actions designed to alleviate the issues of child poverty have not had the wanted results (Strban 2015).

Such friction may be exacerbated by the use of alcohol and occasional drugs as well as peer pressure. Mesko and Bertok (2013) in fact describe that within the small group of juveniles who reported committing more than five criminal offenses (2.2 % off all youth in the study) all of them also reported using drugs and having friends who committed property offenses. Further, two-thirds reported having friends who committed violent offenses.

This group of youngsters reporting about multiple offenses unsurprisingly also reported on typical predictors of deviant behavior, such as coming from a single-parent family, living in underprivileged neighborhoods, being born in another country. They also reported other deviant behavior, such as school truancy (84.6 %>), drinking, smoking marihuana, and using drugs (almost 40 %> reported having been drunk more than two times in the previous month compared to 3.3 %> among the nonoffending respondents, 32 %> smoked marihuana in the previous month, over 80 % experienced drugs at some point in their lives). Moreover, they expressed lower levels of self-control and a strong identification with the concept of machismo legitimizing violence. Importantly, they also reported being victimized at a higher rate than nonoffending youths. Over half of them were victimized: among them 18 % reported that they were battered and 15 % were victims of violence due to discriminatory factors (religion, nationality, etc.). Among the nonoffending youth the proportion of victimized children was 33 % (Mesko and Bertok 2013).

 
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