Young Men and Crime - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Young Men and Crime

Posted: Updated:

(KATV) Police in Central Arkansas have put a lot of young men behind bars lately in connection with a rash or armed robberies. The suspects are as young as 16 to 25 years old. The age of these men who are committing crimes isn't surprising to police, but it seems there is a shift from burglaries to crimes of opportunity for the cash money.

Pictured, are some of the faces of the men being held behind bars, suspected of armed robberies at convenience stores and ATM machines. The recent robberies have happened in Little Rock, North Little Rock, Pine Bluff and Saline County. The majority of them already have a rap sheet. Some will likely spend the rest of their lives behind bars for committing a murder during the theft.

Dr. Jeff Walker is the Criminal Justice Chair at UALR. He says, "People who start to get into the late 20's and 30's usually start aging out of crime unless they're just going to be completely career criminals. So the age is about appropriate for what we're seeing."

Dr. Walker says cash (store) robberies are likely in an upswing, but it isn't cause for concern. "Especially in an economic environment such as we have, pawn shops aren't buying as much. People don't have that kind of money so you have to go where the money is and that is the armed robberies."

Jason Lanier with Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids (P.A.R.K) says, "Studies have shown that kids join gangs because they don't feel loved, they don't have a place to go where they can feel at home."

Lanier is the program director for the non-profit. It's a place for high risk kids to eat, build confidence and do homework after school. He adds, "Number one is relationships, feeling important and that they matter to someone."

Lanier says many of these young men were likely headed in a troubled path years before their first criminal offense. "It's not going to fix it every time but I think if that kid or those kids who commit these robberies or these crimes. If they had somebody they knew that was really looking out for them and say, this person would really be upset if I do this."

Lanier recommends more programs or mentors because there is a strong link between failure in school and a life of crime and prison.