Youth violence, guns, and the illicit-drug industry

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Youth violence, guns, and the illicit-drug industry

Category: Behavior, Crime, Firearm Policies, Gun Markets, Homicide, Youth|Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (full text)|Author: A Blumstein|Year: 1995

Crime has become an issue of increasing importance to the American public. A growing fear of crime seems to pervade the nation and contributes to crime being reported as the nation’s “most serious problem.” This Article examines some empirical aspects of changing crime patterns in recent years and identifies the nature of these changes more precisely than is possible from a typical press report or political debate. This Article concludes that the predominant change in homicide is attributable to a dramatic growth in youth homicide beginning in the mid-1980s and attributes that growth to the recruitment of young people into illicit drug markets. Because those markets are illegal, the participants must arm themselves for self-protection, and the resulting “arms race” among young people results in a more frequent resorting to guns as a major escalation of the violence that has often characterized encounters among teenage males.

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