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Public Opinion on Juvenile Delinquency

NCJ Number
NEVADA PUBLIC AFFAIRS REVIEW Issue: 1 Dated: (1980) Pages: 45-50
C Hunter; J Frey
Date Published
7 pages
As part of an evaluation of the Victim Assistance Program of Juvenile Court Services, the survey explores public attitudes concerning the seriousness of juvenile delinquency and the official treatment of juvenile delinquents in southern Nevada.
In June 1977, three telephone surveys were conducted from the Telephone Survey Center at the University of Nevada: (1) a community survey of 304 Clark County residents, (2) a questionnaire survey of 24 respondents who had been victims of juvenile delinquents before the initiation of the Victim Assistance Program, and (3) a nearly identical survey of 24 more recent victims who had participated in the Victim Assistance Program. For the purposes of analysis, the questionnaire items were grouped into three categories: the seriousness and source of juvenile delinquency, the effect of the police and court system in dealing with the problem, and the treatment of juvenile delinquents should receive. The statistical analysis indicates that most respondents (89 percent) feel that juvenile delinquency is a serious problem in Clark County and that the family is largely to blame. They also felt that police should be tougher with juvenile offenders and that serious juvenile crimes should be treated in the same manner as similar adult crimes. Despite these harsh responses, the public strongly believes that detention has a negative effect on detainees and that restitution is the most hopeful solution. Few differences exist in the responses of victims and nonvictims, but significant contrasts were found according to age and race. Those over 55 are most apprehensive about juvenile delinquency and endorse strict punishment; nonwhites tended to support more punitive disciplinary treatment. The article includes bibliographical footnotes and tables.