Social Determinants of Youth Crime: Parental Presence and Crime Exposure

Main Article Content

Jacqueline Crowell


This study examines criminal involvement among a largely vulnerable population—youth. The social determinants of health framework is applied to assess parental presence and youth exposure to crime/violence both in and out of the home as predictors of crime relative to archival police data and census demographic information. Nineteen years (2000-2019) of data on arrests and incidents in Wilmington, North Carolina was provided by community partner Wilmington Police Department (WPD) for examination. Data on a total of N=726,359 incidents was generated, accessed, and/or analyzed at both the arrest and tract levels using SPSS and ArcGIS software. Census demographic information on female headed households was also analyzed at the tract level to examine the relationship between parental presence and youth crime. Research found that more youth exposure to crime/violence occurred along tracts with many youth and adult arrests. Moreover, many youth arrests occurred along tracts with high numbers of female headed households. These findings support previous literature on parental presence and exposure to crime/violence as predictors of youth crime. It was also discovered that arrests, incidents of exposure, and female headed households were clustered along tracts closest to downtown. It is suggested that future research investigate both geographic and demographic features of the downtown Wilmington area to develop a broader understanding of why most crime and female headed households are concentrated in one portion of town.

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How to Cite
Crowell, J. (2023). Social Determinants of Youth Crime: Parental Presence and Crime Exposure. Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning & Community-Based Research, 13(2), 17–32.
Research Done in Partnership with a Community Organization