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Cja 314 - Personal Application of Criminology

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Personal Application of Criminology

CJA 314

August 22, 2011

Personal Application of Criminology

I am the proud parent of a 16-year-old boy. I came home today and found the front door ajar. Knowing we never leave the house unlocked, I was afraid our home had been broken into, and it was possible the intruder could still be in the house. Erring on the side of caution, I took out my pepper spray and slowly entered the house. Everything in the living room appeared to be undisturbed, but as I approached the kitchen, I could see someone rummaging through a drawer. My presence startled the person and they turned around. It was then I realized the person in my kitchen was my son's friend Devon.

When I asked him how he got into the house, he quickly avoided the question by saying he was trying to leave a note for my son. However, on the counter right next to the drawer he rummaging through was a lock-picking kit and some of my jewelry that is kept in jewelry box in my bedroom. To make matters worse, Devon smelled of marijuana. I immediately told him to leave everything right where it is and get out of my house. He left without saying anything else to me. At this point I have to figure out what my next step will be. Do I call the police, call Devon's parents, tell my son what I caught Devon doing, or do I do nothing since he did not actually take anything out of the house?

Because of the lock-pick set that was obviously used to break-into the house and the fact I do not believe Devon's story about trying to leave a note for my son, I decide to combine my options. Knowing it will take some time for the police to arrive, I called them first. I then call Devon's parents and explained what had occurred in my kitchen. I informed them that I have called the police and if it is possible, I would like to have them at my home when the police arrive. His father agrees to come over and wait with me until the police arrive. When he arrives I show him the lock-pick set and the jewelry on the counter, and I apologize for the action I had to take against his son. He is visibly embarrassed and angry at the same time.

Devon's father and I have a discussion while waiting for the police about how his son has been behaving lately and he tells me Devon has made some new friends who he and his wife do not approve of. Devon has also been skipping school, missing curfew, has been acting out against his young brother and sister, and has begun cursing at everyone in the home. He admits he suspected some form of drug use but did not know how to approach the subject without alienating Devon even further.

When the police arrive we take them into the kitchen and show them the items left there by Devon. The officer begins telling us about the rate of juvenile crimes. Research has shown that individuals between 15 and 19 are more likely to be arrested for crimes than any other age group (Richards, 2011). The officer also informs us that between 2007 and 2008, juveniles were four times more likely to commit a crime than other offenders older than 19 years (Richards, 2011). Taking into consideration Devon's recent behavior, both the officer and Devon's father agree that I made the right decision in involving law enforcement.

At 16 a juvenile has to know that there will be consequences for their actions. If I were to ignore this crime, minor as it may seem to Devon, he would believe it is acceptable to continue doing it because there would be no form of punishment. Research has shown that parental permissiveness and a lack of positive discipline contribute to juvenile delinquency (Hwang, Hansen, Lafond, & Robinson, 2006). To ensure juveniles are held accountable for their actions, the punishment must be severe enough to deter them from committing the same or similar crimes in the future. Involving law enforcement in this situation is also setting a positive example for my son. My son is learning a priceless lesson from the mistake of another person. That lesson is if you decide to commit a crime, you will suffer the consequences of your decision.

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