Hanser recalls a group of teen girls in an affluent Texas suburb that were responsible for a crime spree including armed robberies. "The parents in these families were more focused on careers and keeping up with the Joneses," he says.
Although Hanser says he doesn't like to blame the parents for the sins of the child, he does admit he believes school teachers are being required too often to act as substitute parents. "It's not realistic to expect teachers to raise a child. The moral elements are supposed to be taken care of at home."
The Internet, music, video games, television, poor parenting and the gang culture — all are blamed in part for changing youth crime demographics. Ultimately, it's probably a combination of many things that have led to an evolution of the types of kids getting into trouble with the law.
According to a Bureau of Justice report tracking juvenile offender statistics for a 10-year period from 1993-2003, juveniles were identified as offenders in 25 percent of all nonfatal violent juvenile offenses. Among juvenile offenders in violent crimes, 25 percent were female. White was the predominant offender's race in juvenile-perpetrated violent crimes.
Drug and alcohol use were present in approximately 10 percent of the cases highlighted by the BJS report. Crime among the better heeled seemed more prevalent — or at least media attention made it seem that way. Reports indicate that the rate of female offenders continues to escalate at a stable rate.
Entirely new classifications of crime are steadily emerging as technology gives ordinary people an opportunity to reach new heights of criminal behavior. And kids — ready to explore new frontiers — are finding that media offers an attractive cornucopia of innovative ways to fall from grace.
A 12-year veteran of police work, Carole Moore has served in patrol, forensics, crime prevention and criminal investigations. She welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.