Super Predators

What is the "super predator"? They are young hypercriminals who are
committing acts of violence of unprecedented coldness and brutality. This newest
phenomenon in the world of crime is perhaps the most dangerous challenge facing
society and law enforcement ever. While psychopaths are not new, this breed of
super criminal exceeds the scope of psychopathic behaviour. They are younger,
more brutal, and completely unafraid of the law. While current research on the
super predator is scarce, I will attempt to give an indication as to the reasons
a child could become just such a monster. Violent teenage criminals have become
increasingly vicious. John DiIulio, Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at

Princeton University, says, ⌠The difference between the juvenile criminals
of the 1950s and those of the 1970s and early 1980s was the difference between
the Sharks and the Jets of West Side Story and the Bloods and the Crips. It is
not inconceivable that the demographic surge of the next ten years will bring
with it young criminals who make the Bloods and the Crips look tame."
(Bennett, DiIulio, & Walters, 1996, p. 17). They are what Professor DiIulio
and others call urban "super predators"; young people, often from
broken homes or so called dysfunctional families, who commit murder, rape,
robbery, kidnapping, and other violent acts. These emotionally damaged young
people, often are the products of sexual or physical abuse. They live in an
aimless and violent present; have no sense of the past and no hope for the
future; they commit unspeakably brutal crimes against other people, often to
gratify whatever urges or desires drive them at the moment and their utter lack
of remorse is shocking. Studies reveal that the major cause of violent crime is
not poverty but family breakdown, specifically the absence of a father in the
household. Today, one-fourth of all the children in North America live in
fatherless homes. This adds up to 19 million children without fathers. In
comparison to children who live in two parent homes, these children will be
twice as likely to drop out of school, twice as likely to have children out of
wedlock, and they stand more than three times the chance of ending up in
poverty, and almost ten times more likely to commit violent crime and ending up
in prison. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, reported that the
rise in violent crime over the past 30 years runs directly parallel to the rise
in fatherless families. In the United States, according to the Heritage

Foundation, the rate for juvenile crime is closely linked to the percentage of
children raised in single-parent families. While it has long been thought that
poverty is the primary cause of crime, the facts simply do not support this
view. Juvenile criminal behaviour has its roots in habitual deprivation of
parental love and affection going back to early infancy. A father\'s attention to
his son has enormous positive effects on the child\'s emotional and social
development. A young boy abandoned by his father is deprived of a deep sense of
personal security. In a well-functioning family the presence of the father
embodies authority and paternal authority is critical to the prevention of
psychopathology and delinquency. In addition to the problem of single parent
homes, is the problem of the children whose behavioural problems are linked to
their mothers\' drug use during pregnancy. Children reaching their teenage years
could result in a potentially aggressive population. Drug use has more than
doubled among 12 to 17year olds since 1991. "The overwhelming common factor
that can be isolated in determining whether young people will be criminal in
their behaviour is moral poverty". (Worsham, James-Blakely, and Stephen,

1997, p 24) According to the recently published "Body Count: Moral Poverty
. . . and How to Win America\' s War Against Crime and Drugs," a new
generation of "super-predators, " untouched by any moral inclinations,
will hit America\'s streets in the next decade. John DiIulio, the Brookings

Institute fellow who co-wrote the book with William Bennett and John Walters,
calls it a "multivariate phenomenon, " meaning that child abuse, the
high number of available high-tech guns, alcoholism and many other factors feed
the problem. University of Pennsylvania professor Mavin Wolfgang says, "6
percent to 7 percent of the boys in an age group will be chronic offenders,
meaning they are arrested five or more times before the age of 18." If that
holds true, because there will be 500,000 more boys ages 14 to 17 in the year

2000 than there were in 1995, there will be at least 30,000 more youth criminals
on the streets. Between