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Chapter 1 & 2

LAWS 3307 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1 & 2: Youth Criminal Justice Act, Young Offenders Act, Victimology

Course Code
LAWS 3307
Mike Smith
1 & 2

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Youth and the Law
- Young people between 12 and 17 represent 7% of the Canadian pop.; youth
aged 18 to 24 account for 10%
- By 2026, the non-native pop. under 25 is predicted to be only 6% higher than
it was in 2001; FN youth pop. is predicted to be 37% higher
- Approx. 104, 000 youth were accused of a CC offence in 2013, about 22, 000
fewer than in 2012
- Arrest rate rises through adolescence, peaks at 19 and declines in the 20s
- Teens mostly commit property crime, violent crime rises among those in
their 20s
The Role of Media in Understanding Youth Crime
- Media reports about youth tend to exaggerate and sensationalize
- Factors that influence crime news selection:
o Seriousness of the offence
o Unusual elements of the crime
o Sentimental or dramatic aspects of the offence or the criminal
o The involvement of famous or high-status individuals
- The media presents criminality as a choice, disregarding any social,
economic, or structural explanations
- Media gives the public ideas that the CJS needs harsher punishment instead
of solving the problem
Collecting and Analyzing Crime Data
- Since 1962, Statistics Canada has been conducting UNIFROM CRIME
REPORTING (UCR) SURVEY collects info on all criminal incidents that have
been reported to and substantiated by Canadian police forces
o Designed to provide comparable and consistent crime statistics in
order to compare rends over time and across jurisdictions
- Highest crime rate in 1991; in 2012, the crime rate was at its lowest level
since 1972
Juvenile Delinquents Act 1908-1983
Young Offenders Act 1984-2002
Youth Criminal Justice Act 2003
- The most likely violent offence for youth in 2012 was assault level 1
o Assaults that cause little to no physical harm to victims; can include
such acts as pushing or shoving
- The higher rates of violent crime prior to 1990 probably reflect the presence
of “baby boomers” occupying the youth and young adult age cohorts most
likely to be involved in crime

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Pacifism ideology or movement that consists in being opposed to war or violence
How is Youth Crime Counted?
- 2 main ways of collecting info on crime in Canada
o The Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR)
o The General Social Survey (GSS) on Victimization
- UCR reported every year and is a compilation of police-reported crimes
- GSS given every 5 years to a sample of Canadians over the age of 15
captures crimes not reported to police but only collects selected info on a
subset of criminal offences
- Police record 2 categories of crime: those detected by police themselves and
those reported to them by victims and members of the public
- Reasons for non-reporting vary:
o Offence might seem trivial
o The act might not be seen as illegal
o Victim might not trust police or believe they will be effective
o Victim might fear or know the perpetrator and would rather deal with
the problem informally
- Crime Severity Index (CSI) system for measuring and severity of police
reported crimes each year, and the change in severity year to year; created to
alleviate some of the problems in determining the crime rate
- Custodial sentence a judicial sentence that require a term of either open or
secure imprisonment of the offender
The Crime Funnel
Crime funnel reduction in the number of individuals involved in each stage of the
decision-making proves in the CJS
- The degree to which numbers get smaller depends on different factors:
o The public
o The police
o Fed. Government
o Prov. Government
o Courts
o Crown attorneys
o Legal aid
- Extrajudicial measures a way of dealing with offenders outside the formal
justice system
- Extrajudicial sanctions more formal counterpart of extrajudicial measures
Counting Youth Crime Using Self-Report Measures
- Self-report studies relies on self-administered surveys or questionnaires
given to a target group in order to obtain a group profile of the identified
behaviours in which the researcher is interested
- Dark figure of crime the number of crimes that don’t come to the attention
of the CJS
- Hidden delinquency undetecting rule-breaking behaviour

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- Self-report methodology is important because:
o Provides info on how many times a person has engaged in behaviour
that would be deemed criminal
o Records the acts of those who have not been categorized as offenders
as well as the acts of those who have, thereby permitting some
comparisons between the 2 groups
- Criticisms of self-reporting
o Respondents may be reluctant to accurately report incidents that
might land them in legal difficulty
o May forget or disregard some of the incidents
o May brag, exaggerate, or invent incidents feeling the need to fit in
- Status offences genre of the criminal offence that is based not on the
committing in the past of a particular prohibited action or inaction but on the
allegation that the offender has a certain personal condition or is of a
specified character ex. Truancy/skipping school
Victimization Surveys
- Victimization surveys are based on incidents of crime (either reported to
police or underreported) as described by self-identified victims
What Types of Crime Do Youth Commit?
S.430 CC Mischief in relation to data
S.175 CC Causing disturbance, indecent exhibition, loitering, etc
Mischief to private property destruction of, or damage to, private property
Common behaviours that may lead to a mischief charge from vandalism
o Spray painting another’s property with the purpose of defacing
o “Egging” someone’s car or window
o Keying or scratching paint off someone’s car
o Defacing public property with graffiti
o Altering or knocking down street signs
o Slashing someone’s tires
- On May 1, 2006, London, ON, city council passed a bylaw that made it illegal
for persons under the age of 18 to purchase spray paint or permanent
markers in the city the London Police responded in kind by appointing a
special constable as “graffiti investigator” to monitor graffiti occurrences,
track and identify graffiti rends, establish suspects, investigate occurrences,
and target highly victimized areas
- The Toronto Police Service has a designated graffiti officer in each of its 17
divisions to implement strategies to reduce graffiti under the Toronto Anti-
Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) additionally, the Toronto Police
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