According to the book "A Primer on Social Problems," crime rates are higher for Americans in their late teens to early 20s. Those in the 15- to 24-year-old age group make up 40 percent of arrests but account for 14 percent of the population.
The book explains that peer relationships play a role in crime and are most important in adolescence, and a person's peers may commit crimes, which draws that person into the same activities. Additionally, younger Americans lack full-time jobs, so the desire for income is higher, and crime is more attractive. As Americans grow older, crime rates decrease because people begin finding jobs and starting families, thereby increasing their conformity to social norms.