|Type of paper:
|Criminal law Penal system Ethics Juvenile justice
It would be unethical for criminologists to observe, accompany, or assist teenage gangs to commit felonies. Criminologists should report crimes like teenage drinking and stealing cars to the police for legal actions. Teenage gangs engage in unhealthy and criminal activities like abusing substances and theft, both of which harm them and their victims (Bjorgo, 2016). Most teenagers join crime gangs for a sense of belonging, to make money or due to peer pressure, then they get socialized by their seniors into crime.
These gangs keep engaging in felonies partly because they lack proper counsel; among the gang members, no one will tell the others that they should not be committing crimes, thus, they share the belief that it is right to do what they like regardless of the effects on others. Criminologists would be indirectly facilitating teenage crime if they observe teenage gangs break the law, which does not only increase crime in society but also make it harder to stop and reform the gang members. Therefore, it could not be ethical for criminologists to observe teenage gangs engage in illegal activities without taking legal action.
Criminologists should report illegal activities by teenage gangs to the police. Although it is not a legal obligation, it is responsible for every citizen to report any crime they witness. Reporting crimes plays an important role in the fight against crime in society, because it facilitates policing. Similarly, it is the responsibility of criminologists to report teenage gangs when they break the law, in a bid to fight teenage crime (Boateng, 2016).
By reporting the teenagers the criminologists will render them to correctional centers to rehabilitate, socialize them back to the community and prevent recidivism. The exception to this should be only in situations when the criminologists are targeting a more dangerous felon, and they can only get them by observing the gangs commit crimes. However, even in such circumstances, when the criminologists complete their operation, they should ensure that all the gang members are arrested and charged with crimes they committed.
Bjørgo, T. (2016). Violent Youth Gangs. In Preventing Crime (pp. 71-116). Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137560483_3
Boateng, F. D. (2018). Crime reporting behavior: do attitudes toward the police matter?. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 33(18), 2891-2916. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/295855033_Crime_Reporting_Behavior_Do_Attitudes_Toward_the_Police_Matter.
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