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Causes of Juvenile Crime

It is essential to determine the causes of juvenile crime in order to prevent delinquency. Research in Turkey has shown three main groups of factors influencing juvenile delinquency: demographic, socioeconomic, and familial (Ta§kiran &

Table 24.1. Juvenile convicts received into juvenile prison and reformatory by type of crime, 2004-2013 (%)

Type of crime

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Homicide

13.5

13.9

21.8

8.9

9.1

5.2

4.6

11.7

6.0

6.6

Theft

15.3

14.4

15.4

19.9

28.2

29.8

33.6

36.2

39.0

43.1

Sexual

17.1

16.8

12.8

14.8

8.2

6.4

4.2

2.1

2.7

8.0

crimes

Assault

2.1

2.5

3.8

5.9

2.1

2.0

3.6

2.3

2.2

2.6

Robbery

40.1

46.5

35.9

42.4

39.9

41.6

34.0

29.8

38.5

25.9

Other

12.0

5.9

10.3

8.1

12.6

15.0

20.0

17.9

11.5

13.9

Source: Turkish Statistical Institute Prison Statistics, 2014

Agaoglu 1943; §ensoy 1947; Golchklh 1962; Saran 1968; Yavuzer 1981; Ulugtekin 1991; Avc i 2008).

Young age has been shown to be related with criminal behavior (Yhcel 1989; Yenisey 1992). For this reason, one of the major causes of juvenile delinquency in Turkey is the age structure of Turkey’s population. According to TURKSTAT’s Address Based Registration System, every 1 in 4 Turkish citizens is between ages 0 and 14 (TURKSTAT 2015a, b).

Just like adult delinquency, juvenile delinquency is related to social and individual factors such as behavioral and psychological problems. Juvenile homelessness, drug abuse and addiction, and school dropout are serious risk factors related to juvenile delinquency (Ada 2007; Yildiz 2007).

Juveniles in households where families are fragmented or parents are separated are at a higher risk of committing crime, due to the lack of sufficient family control and the low intrafamily communication generated by that situation (Ada 2007; Avci & Ghqray 2010). Being deprived of efficient parental care as a result of divorce, death, or separation of parents; growing in bad economic conditions; having low educated, drug abuser, or delinquent parents; and being raised in a multichild family are related with abuse and neglect, which are the dominant risk factors of criminal acts during childhood (Yavuzer 1988; Bayindir et al. 2007; Akbaba 2011; Karaku§ & Tekin 2012).

On the other hand, some researchers emphasize the social environment and the influence of peers as other important determinants of juvenile delinquency (Acar et al. 2015). Child labor also plays an impressive and negative role on juvenile delinquency: juveniles who are working on the streets or at inappropriate work places for their age have a heightened risk of committing crime (Kuntay 2002; Erbay 2010).

Other factors include rapid societal changes and new social norms due to the country’s urbanization and industrialization patterns. In this context it is possible to suggest that rural to urban migration has had a specific effect on Turkish juvenile crime. Due to the level of unemployment and terrorist issues, there has been a dense mobility since the 1950s until today from eastern to western regions, which are more industrialized and urbanized (Erkan & Erdogdu 2006). According to a Report of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), the lack of sufficient education, cultural conflicts caused by internal and external migrations, squatting, economic crisis, fragmented families, and child labor are the main environmental factors associated with migration, which in turn is related to juvenile delinquency (TGNA 2010).

Social and economic inequality also has a direct impact on juvenile delinquency. It has been observed that over the last 2 decades juvenile offenders have mostly been involved in theft crime (Ada 2007; Ozbay 2008).

Finally, exposure to violence is another significant component of juvenile crimes. As pointed out in the Report of Turkish Grand National Assembly, juveniles who used to be victims of crime often engage in crime themselves (TGNA 2010).

 
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