Zero Tolerance and Community Youth Crime Prevention

Published 09 Mar 2017

The zero tolerance policy for drugs and weapons is not an effective in terms of community youth crime prevention. This is simply because such a policy does not serve the important role of identifying and mitigating the underlying factor, which lead to crime activities among the youth in the community (Hanson, 2000). The realization of a sustainable solution to a problem dictates for the resolution of the root cause to the problem. Community youth crime is evidently triggered by poor influence from other members of the community. According to available evidence, the problem of drug abuse among the American youth population is blamed on the availability of such drugs in the community (Marshall, 1999).

According to psychological evidence, it is evidently claimed that the behavior of the youth population is mainly guided by peer pressure. This has been closely attributed to the fact that at such a stage in the human development, many lack the intellectual capacity to engage in reasoned decisions. Due to this reason, imposing inhumanly harsh punishments to otherwise innocent criminals contradicts the concept of effective behave correction and character building in the community (Marshall, 1999). Without an effective strategy by the government and the local community in eliminating and/or restricting the availability of drugs in the community, the zero tolerance policy remains ineffective.

Crime activities by the youth in the community are caused by lack of reliable social and economic responsibilities for the youth in the community (White, 1998). An idle mind is the devils workshop. It has been sufficiently established that most of the criminal activities in the human community are conducted by the unemployed members of the community. Based on this reasoning, the zero tolerance policy for drugs and weapons fails by not addressing the issue of unemployment as the leading reason behind escalating crime activities by the youth (Marshall, 1999). Still to be appreciated is the fact that family problems are contributing significantly in youth crime activities. As per the available psychological evidence, children from families marked with domestic violence are more likely to engage in crime activities.

There are numerous alternative solutions to the zero tolerance policy for drugs and weapons as a tool for promoting of community youth crime prevention. First, the government should engage its resource in identifying and resolving the underlying causes of youth crime activities in the community. On the question of drug abuse such as alcohol, the law enforcement should strive to enforce the laws restricting the availability of such drugs to the underage in the community (White, 1998). The other problem is idleness among the youth. The government and all stakeholders in the American community should strive to oversee the establishment of youth programs which are reflective of their social and economic needs.

Another alternative is the engagement of the government in effective correction practices for youths who are victims of community crime. Rehabilitation has been evidently praised for its effectiveness in ensuring sustainable behavioral change in crime offenders. Still, through rehabilitation, any underlying psychological cause for the individual’s criminal behavior is identified and sufficiently resolved (Marshall, 1999). Another importance of rehabilitation practices is that they serve to nurture self-reliant skills among the crime offenders. This functions to promote the economic independence of the individual upon release to the community. Therefore, effective corrective practices like rehabilitating youth crime offenders could be quite instrumental in realizing a sustainable community youth crime prevention strategy.


  • Hanson, A. (2005). Have Zero Tolerance School Discipline Policies Turned into Nightmare? The American Dream’s Promise of Equal Education Opportunity.
  • Marshall, J. (1999). Zero Tolerance Policing. Retrieved May 23, 2010, from
  • White, R. (1998). Curtailing Youth: A Critique of Coercive Crime Prevention.
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