Kids who kill, experts say, share a common profile of hardship, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. They’re high-school dropouts or troubled students; they have an arrest record; they have an uninvolved or absent father and/or were born to a teenage mother; they are involved with drugs or have relatives who are; they come from low-income neighborhoods; and they have family members with criminal records.
In a city where the number of kid killers rose 52 percent, from 19 in 2007 to 29 in 2008, experts say that it’s more important than ever for youth advocates preemptively to treat the troubles that can deliver teens to deadly destinies. Another problem: “Delinquency is, by and large, group behavior,” said Phil Harris, a criminal-justice professor at Temple University. “Kids take bigger risks in a group than alone.” To some, that trend seems insurmountable.