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Teen Robbers Greater Threat Than Adults

April 23, 2004  | 

Robbers between the ages of 13 and 18 can be more dangerous than adults because they tend to have fewer reservations about committing violent types of robberies and are often undeterred by cameras or unarmed guards, according to a recent research study.

“Teenage Robbers,” by Dr. Rosemary Erickson, reports findings based on a survey of nearly 200 incarcerated armed robbers who are in their teens. Erickson’s company, Athena Research Corporation, conducted the study to help prevent teenage robberies.

Erickson’s book on incarcerated adult robbers, “Armed Robbers and Their Crimes,” was written using findings from her research funded by the National Institute of Justice. Her findings are reported to have helped reduce robberies by 65 percent in convenience stores.

According to Erickson’s recent research, factors influencing teenagers to commit robbery include, in order, the neighbor hood they grew up in, their friends, their families, and the influences from television, movies, and music. Nearly half of teens surveyed have a parent or sibling in prison and eighty percent say their friends commit crimes.

“We suspected that teenagers were more dangerous, and this study confirms it,” says Erickson. According to her research, part of the reason is that teens are more nervous when committing robberies. “If you’re looking down the barrel of a gun with a teenager at the other end, you should be afraid.”

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