There are many causes of juvenile delinquency, including poor parenting, peer pressure, aggressive pre-disposition, neighborhood, school life or performance and mistreatment. The issue of nature versus nurture has been widely debated in relation to juvenile crime for a decades. A study by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention determined that both innate characteristics and outside influence equally influence juvenile crime.
Statistics indicate, to a certain degree, that some youths are pre-disposed to commit crime due to an unusually aggressive nature. For the majority of juveniles, however, the path to crime begins at home. Poor parenting and abuse are the primary contributors of juvenile crime in the home. Poor parenting includes neglect or incompetent parenting as well as parental influence. Juveniles who have parents who commit or have committed a crime are more likely to commit crimes themselves than juveniles of parents who do not commit crimes. Abuse is also a key contributor to juvenile crime. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention study determined that abuse, whether physical or verbal, is one of the top two factors in juvenile crime. The other is gang-related activity. Youths who live in depressed neighborhoods often join gangs for protection. Peer pressure from gang members often leads them to commit crime.