Criminal Behavior and Youth Crime: A Juvenile Delinquency Perspective on Adverse Childhood Experience

Samuel Fikiri Cinini*, Sazelo Michael Mkhize

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The chapter aims to explore whether the various forms of early adversity are risk factors for criminal behavior among young adults leading to youth crime and juvenile delinquency. The objective of this study is to take into consideration adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in understanding youth crime and juvenile delinquency from a criminal behavior perspective among the youths. Through secondary qualitative data, this study demonstrates numerous risk factors associated with a youth’s probability of joining a gang, revealing that the process of entering a gang begins in childhood and progresses through district development stages. Negative life events and fear or experiences of victimization have been linked to joining a gang. Certain family circumstances have been shown to significantly predict gang involvement, including a lack of health insurance, the jailing or imprisonment of a household member, and foster care placement—all of which are considered ACEs. The results of this study suggest that a focused effort on early identification of ACEs, and intervention for ACEs to improve youth life circumstances and prevent criminal behavior, may reduce the likelihood of and costs related to juvenile criminal activities. Primary prevention efforts should be tailored to meet the needs of parents, teachers, health professionals, and law enforcement.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCriminal Behavior - The Underlying, and Contemporary Applications
EditorsSevgi Güney
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781837694839
ISBN (Print)9781837694846
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Aug 2023
Externally publishedYes

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