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What is the lure of criminal activity with relation to America’s youth?

What does the criminal activity afford that society has been unable to provide?

Expert Answers

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There are two main things that youth crave that can help lure them to criminal activity.  These are material goods and status/belonging.

Many youths who commit crimes are poor.  They live in a society where they are constantly bombarded with messages that tell them that material possessions are very important.  They constantly see images of people (or the people themselves) with much more wealth than they themselves have.  Often, they see no feasible and legitimate paths to gaining such possessions.  Therefore, they are attracted to crime.  It is the one way that they can see that allows a person like them to get what they consider to be the finer things in life.

Many youths who commit crimes come from unstable family backgrounds.  They do not have enough of a sense of belonging and they do not feel important in their families.  Therefore, they are drawn to gangs that are generally involved in criminal activity.  In a gang, they can feel that they belong to a group and that they are important to the others in the group.  In a gang, they can feel that they have some status in the eyes of outsiders.  This fulfills a psychological or emotional need for them.

Of course, these things cannot explain every individual case of criminal activity.  However, these are the most important “positive” attractions of criminal activity. 

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