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Juvenile crimes happen because kids are bored

Juvenile crimes happen for a variety of reasons, but one of the main ones is very simple: Young people are just bored. They do not have anything to do -- especially during the summer months, when they're not in school -- and so they wind up getting involved in criminal activity.

These crimes can have a huge impact on a young person's life. They can change college and career aspirations. That's a large price to pay for simply being bored.

But it's an issue in a lot of criminal cases. For instance, Nestle Trust carried out a study that found that a stunning 70 percent of teenagers and parents listed general boredom and a "lack of activities" as reasons for juvenile crime. Other studies show that between 37 percent and 52 percent of young people who get arrested put boredom down as one of the reasons that they committed the crime.

Some cities have been proactive about offering alternatives. For instance, one city simply started offering better after-school programs for kids, and the arrest rate plummeted by more than 42 percent in just 10 years. The incarceration rate for young people fell by an incredible 73 percent. Even underage drinking became less common. Examples of after-school activities include joining sports teams, taking art classes and going on museum trips.

It's important for parents to understand exactly why their kids run into trouble with the law and what they may be able to do about it. If your child does end up facing charges this year, make sure you know what legal defense options you have.

Source: Unify Galesburg, "Boredom Leads to Crime," Stephen McAllister, accessed May 17, 2018

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