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Is peer pressure linked to crime? 

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Criminal Defense

In many cases where a crime is committed, some sort of outside pressure influenced that action. For example, someone who is facing overwhelming debt or a lot of financial pressure may be more likely to embezzle money from work or shoplift from the store. These are not necessarily activities that they want to engage in, but they’re feeling this outside pressure and they decide to take the risk.

If you are a parent whose child has been arrested for a crime, you may be curious about the link between peer pressure and that act. Parents often bring this up when they are surprised about how their child acts or they claim that the child was never like that at home. Could it be that their peers caused them to break the law?

The pressure of fitting in

Researchers have found that peer pressure can play a role, especially because young people want to fit in. When the group is engaging in an activity, even if that activity is illegal, young people want to be part of it, and they will sometimes take risks or do things they never would’ve done otherwise. An example of this is when someone has a friend who is interested in shoplifting and they decide to go do it together.

However, researchers also point out that immaturity can play a role, and they are hesitant to list peer pressure as a primary cause of crime. They note that young people may not understand the ramifications of their actions, for example. Peer pressure could still cause them to do something that is illegal, but they may only have done it because they didn’t understand how serious it was or what it would mean for the rest of their life.

As a parent, you certainly understand how serious it is, and you need to know about all of the legal defense options at your disposal.