Why Does Juvenile Crime Spike During the Summer?
Researchers have been investigating the link between crime trends and the seasons for years. A study by the U.S. Department of Justice found that there was a clear connection between an increase in crime, especially violent crimes, and the hottest months of the year. Major cities can expect as much as a 35% increase in crime overall during the summer. However, violent crimes aren’t the only crimes that spike in the summer—juvenile offenses do as well.
There are many reasons why juvenile crime increases in the summertime, including:
- Summer vacation. As minors are out of school during the summer months, they have more free time and possibly less supervision, and they might take advantage of that freedom.
- Heat. Hot temperatures can increase irritability and aggression, and the heat can affect those with short tempers. During the summer, a lot more people are out and about, and barbecues and social events abound. With the increased interactions, spats can arise and maybe even lead to violence.
- More opportunities. With the summer heat, many people leave their windows and even doors propped open, which is an opportunity for minors to consider committing a theft. Because of the holiday weekends and great weather, many people also travel and leave their homes empty.
- Alcohol consumption. Even though it is illegal for a person under age 21 to possess or consume alcoholic beverages, many minors do engage in underage drinking. Alcohol not only leaves people and teens vulnerable to an attack themselves but can also impair their judgment. If a juvenile is under the influence, they may become more violent, drive while under the influence, or commit a crime.
Common Juvenile Crimes Committed During Summer Break
Here are the most common offenses that minors commit during the summer.
- Curfew violations. In Illinois, minors have a curfew and cannot remain in public places or at a public establishment during the curfew hours (see the Illinois Child Curfew Act). Curfew hours are from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. on weekdays, and on the weekends, the curfew hours are from 12:01 am. to 6:01 a.m.
- Driving while under the influence. Whether at a 4th of July barbecue or summer party or hangout, after handing out with friends (even before the curfew hours), minors may engage in underage drinking. Unfortunately, many teens also drive after drinking, which is not only a punishable offense but is also dangerous. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens are more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal alcohol-related accident, and 16% of teen drivers (aged 15-18) involved in fatal crashes in 2019 had been drinking.
- Drug charges. Teens are often charged with drug possession or distribution. As they have more time on their hands, they may try to experiment and try drugs or earn money with drug sales.
- Theft. During the summer, teens can be charged with various theft crimes, including shoplifting, burglary, and robbery. As we mentioned, with open doors and cracked windows, teens may see an opportunity to take valuables they see left on the front seat of a car or in a home. Many teens also spend time out with friends and may shoplift or attempt to shoplift items.
- Domestic violence. When families spend more time together at home, like during the pandemic or summer, domestic violence rates usually increase, and teens may even be accused of committing an act of violence against a household member.
- Sexual assault. Sexual assault or rape occurs when a person allegedly engages in a penetrative sexual act against another person with their consent or when said person is unable to give consent (because of a disability or impairment).
- Criminal traffic offenses. One of the top summer driving hazards is teen driving. Because of their inexperience and sometimes immaturity, teens can engage in reckless driving practices. If your teen has a passenger, research suggests that teen drivers with passengers are more likely to be distracted, engage in reckless practices, and even be involved in an accident.
Get Legal Help
At the Law Office of Steven Fine, our attorney has over two decades of legal experience, and our firm has a proven track record of success in helping our clients achieve the best possible case results. If you or a loved one have been arrested or are under investigation for a juvenile offense this summer, you can trust our firm to help you protect your rights and freedoms. We understand how unnerving it can be to face criminal charges, and once you retain our team, we can help you:
- Develop a solid legal defense strategy
- Negotiate with the prosecution for a plea deal (if possible and the best decision for your case)
- Offer you personalized attention
- Feel more supported throughout the entire process
- Answer any questions you may have
- Fight to obtain the upper hand in court
The short-term and long-term effects of a criminal conviction can impact your financial health and future educational and job opportunities. Don’t try to fight these charges online. Schedule a consultation by reaching out online or calling (312) 436-0638 today.