Can Homicide Be Predicted?


A new study aims to dispel some of the myths about what causes a youth to commit murder.

The study, published in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice examined data from the longitudinal “Pathways to Desistance” study, which followed 1,354 youths charged with serious crimes.

Of the sample of 1,354 youths, 18 had been charged with homicide. Researchers analyzed eight demographic characteristics and 35 risk factors associated with youth violence, to see whether any distinguished the homicide group.

“Among the predictors, age, intelligence quotient (IQ), exposure to violence, perceptions of community disorder, and prevalence of gun carrying are significantly different across the two groups,” researchers wrote.

But “only lower IQ and a greater exposure to violence were significant.”

More importantly, researches concluded, the presence of a high number of risk factors in a youth's background increased the likelihood that he or she might be charged with homicide.

Researchers conclude that juvenile justice practitioners should be “mindful” of the many risk factors associated with violence.

“Youth who display many or perhaps all of these risks certainly warrant additional services and oversight on the part of staff, as they might be the youth who are most likely to perpetrate a homicide,” researchers write.

Read the full study HERE.

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