Youth Crime and Youth Culture in the Inner City

By Bill Sanders | Go to book overview

9

What is to be done about crime and delinquency in Lambeth?

I studied various forms of crime and delinquency in Lambeth for several years. I also experienced what it is like to live around certain forms of crime in ways perhaps not too dissimilar from your 'average' Lambeth citizen. What follows are my own reflections on these experiences, as well as some ideas that might be beneficial towards doing something about them. Specifically, I offer a couple of ideas regarding what can be done about acquisitive and some drug-related offences in the borough.


Pressed for cash: being young, earning money, and Stop and Swap Inc.

That young people who committed acquisitive offences did so primarily in order to get money, which enabled them to participate in activities and present themselves in a certain way, is clear from my data (Jacobs and Wright 1999; Shover 1996). If this situation is the case more generally then perhaps as a society we should make it easier for young people to get money legitimately (Graef 1993).

In the last chapter I suggested young people, young men in particular, in their early teenage years, who desire all of the fancy clothes and youthful activities they see all around them yet are pressed for cash, may turn to acquisitive offences (or other profitable offences) as a means to an end. And while these young people are probably told, from many different angles and in many different ways, that crime is wrong and not to behave this way, what alternatives are they offered? What other options are they allowed to choose from that will enable them to earn money legitimately, so as to experience these activities and purchase these fashions they covet so highly?

My purpose is not to review the policies and practices within Lambeth that may or may not have been implemented since the early1990s attempting to tackle acquisitive offences amongst young men. What I call attention to are the options available to boys and young men who want to earn money. What I suggest, rather simply, is this: let us make it easier for young people to earn money legitimately; let us offer young people more job opportunities or vocational training in fields they find gratification in. Considering the significant relationship between a young person's involvement in the legitimate labour market and their desistance from offending (McGahey 1989;

-195-

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Youth Crime and Youth Culture in the Inner City
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures viii
  • Tables ix
  • Acknowledgements x
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - Research in the Inner City 1
  • 2 - Lambeth 27
  • 3 - Robbery, Burglary, Theft 47
  • 4 - Drug Use and Drug Selling 77
  • 5 - Graffiti, Joyriding, Vandalism 94
  • 6 - Violence 116
  • 7 - Style, Group Behaviour, Interactions with the Police 135
  • 8 - The Moral Universes of Young People Who Have Offended 168
  • 9 - What is to Be Done About Crime and Delinquency in Lambeth? 195
  • Notes 205
  • References 215
  • Index 225
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