RESEARCH IN THE CENTER
Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center
2017 Statewide Needs Assessment of Families with Adolescents: SUMMARY
This survey consisted of a statewide representation of adult Texas residents (n=616) with adolescents (age 12-17). The survey covers general beliefs about adolescents, crime within their communities, causes of delinquency, barriers to successful crime-free adolescence, suggestions to reduce crime within this population, the level of influence that specific institutions hold in reducing juvenile delinquent behavior, and adolescents’ accessibility to mental health and substance use treatment in their communities.
Key Study Results
Crime in communities
- Just over half of the participants indicated that crime levels in their community had not changed in the year prior to the survey, while 41.4% indicated that crime had increased.
- The majority of participants (71.6%) reported the petty crimes are primarily committed by juveniles. Another 16.0% reported that juveniles are responsible for most property crimes.
- Participants attributed the increase in local crime to multiple factors such as increased drug availability, lack of employment, easy access to weapons, societal and peer pressure, inadequate police and community services, and social media influence on behavior, among others.
- Almost one third of the participants indicated that law enforcement had minimal influence on crime reduction.
Mental Health and Substance Use: Access to care
- A quarter of participants (25.0%) revealed that their teen had a history of mental health issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide, etc.).
- Fewer than half (39.1%) of the participants indicated that mental health treatment services were available within their community or at their teen’s school, and 8.8% reported such services are not available at all. Of those stating services are available, 36.0% indicated that mental health treatment availability is insufficient to meet emergent needs.
- Almost twenty percent (18.5%) of participants indicated that substance abuse treatment services are not available within their community or teen’s school.
Solutions to Juvenile Delinquency
- The majority of participants agreed that community and school-related services or programs might reduce juvenile delinquency. Participants listed the following services as deterrents to juvenile delinquency: recreational/sports programs, summer programs, programs specifically for at-risk youth, afterschool programs, effective parenting programs, school programs addressing bullying, cyberbullying, appropriate internet use, alcohol and drug abuse counseling services, and mental health counseling .
For more details, see the full report.
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