In this work we have attempted to provide insights into the behavior, motivations, attributions, and uniqueness of preteen murderers as differentiated from adolescent murderers. Although their numbers are few in comparison with adolescent murderers, they do represent a significant group about whom little is known. Access to needed information is limited by the age of the child, how data are collected, and a relative lack of evaluative instrumentation, which can provide authoritative information about mental status, personality, and amenability to treatment and rehabilitation.
Observation of juveniles in the post–World War II era reveals a continuing drop in the age of first offense for a variety of chargeable offenses such as drug abuse, sexual abuse, and crimes against persons. With that trend, if society hopes to stem the increases in juvenile crimes, especially those involving violence, we must develop fuller understanding of causal and contributory factors, make effective diagnoses and identify problem areas, and apply treatment measures successful in modifying undesirable thoughts and behaviors.
As part of our summary and recommendations, we will examine what can be stated affirmatively. The first three chapters, which report on published research, provide demographics, personal characteristics, problem behaviors, family dynamics, and the environments of preteen murderers. The reviewed literature suggest preteen homicide is a rare occurrence that