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The Role of Social Control in Youth Crime

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Moving on to the weaknesses, the academic and career goals being part of this theory in the explanation of the commitment element, has an unsuccessful integration of some factors such as family socioeconomic status and capability that studies say to be crucial in the progress of achieving the goals. This can be explained through strain theory. This theory explains that crime is caused by strains which consist of situations, environment or economic and not only by the negative relationship between two individuals. Being unable to achieve one’s goals due to certain circumstances such as lack of opportunities will cause a person to encounter strain. This then motivates one to engage in delinquent acts. Some factors may deter youth from pursuing their goals. Such as being in a low social class or having little to no resources available. For instance, youth can be committed to having a goal of pursuing higher education which will enable one to focus on working towards it, instead of participating in any antisocial activities in the fear of being unable to achieve the goal. However, if one does not have the means to pay for the school fees due to the factors mentioned above, it will cause the youth to experience strain as the opportunities of attaining the goal are diminished, allowing the youth to become delinquent. Therefore, having commitments is not enough to steer youth away from delinquency.

Another weakness is the overvaluation of the importance of involvement in prosocial activities and the undervaluation of friends who are delinquent. This means that, even though youth is making use of one’s time productively by involving in positive activities, it does not mean that the youth cannot or will not engage in antisocial activities after involving in the positive activities. Moreover, through such prosocial activities, a youth may form bonds with other friends who also engage in delinquent acts after participating in the prosocial activities. Besides, there is also a high chance of youth having attachments with delinquent friends in school, who might influence the youth to become a delinquent. Such as, smoking or engaging in property crime after participating in the prosocial activities.

Application on Youth Crime

A crime can be committed not only by an adult but it can also be committed by a young person. This is called youth crime which is also termed as juvenile offending or juvenile delinquency. It is the action of a young person, below the age of 18, engaging in unlawful behaviour. Many risk factors contribute to a youth committing a crime. Some of the major factors consist of delinquent friends, school influences, community influences, parental supervision and discipline, parental conflict and separation, personality and many more. Usually, youths who are at high risk or imminent risk are more likely to be involved in youth crime.

Like every other crime, youth crime can also be curbed. Through social control theory, there is a likelihood that youth crime can be curbed. Most of the time, youths stray off the right path due to the influence of their delinquent friends. This will allow them to get involved in antisocial activities such as underage smoking after school which is a gateway to underage drinking or drug use, eventually leading to other violent crimes. The involvement element of the social bond can be used in the prevention of this situation. For instance, there are many youth centres in Singapore which have a drop-in centre catered for youths. These youth centres can work together with the schools to encourage youths to drop by at the drop-in centres to spend their time meaningfully by using the facilities that the centre provide, interact with others or even study, in the presence of youth mentors. This will also be helpful to latchkey youths. By doing so, youths will be involved in prosocial activities instead of hanging out with their delinquent friends, involving in antisocial activities.

Furthermore, in Singapore, there are many family service centres which provide certain programmes for families. One such program is a parenting program for parents. By attending such a program, parents will be aware of child abusive and learn about communicating effectively with their children and also learn how to raise their children well. Doing so will allow the parents and the children, in this case, the youths, to have a stronger bond between them. This leads to the attachment element of the social bond whereby youths will have a strong attachment to their parents from the trust and connection that they have gained. With this attachment, parents will be able to teach youths socially acceptable behaviours and shape them. Moreover, youths will also refrain from committing crime as they will not want to jeopardise the attachment that they have with their parents. Thus, this curbs youth crime.


As mentioned above, delinquent friends can influence youths to a great extent. This can be curbed by using the attachment element of the social bond. Since youths heed the advice of a specially qualified person, schools can bring in motivational speakers who can talk about the topic of friends so that youths will be aware of the different categories of friends. The speakers can also talk about learning how to say no to delinquent friends. Thus, youths choosing to have a strong attachment to the right friends. Having such attachment will then refrain youths from engaging with delinquent friends. Hence, desisting from crime.

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The Role of Social Control in Youth Crime. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2022, from
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