ROANOKE, Va. – There's been a disturbing trend over the last few weeks as law enforcement across southwest Virginia have arrested nearly two dozen juveniles allegedly involved in violent and serious crimes.
Among the incidents include: The Blacksburg police announced Wednesday that four juveniles have been charged with arson after setting fire to the old Blacksburg High School on July 15.
In addition, investigators in Lynchburg announced the arrests of five juveniles charged in a burglary at Phone Axoim on July 27. And in Bedford County, five juveniles have been charged in last week's burglary of Bedford Pawn.
All but one of the juveniles are also involved in a break-in at Lynchburg Arms and Indoor Shooting Range in Campbell County.
Professor of criminal justice and former Maryland police officer Dr. Tod Burke said there are many theories why teens commit crimes, which is nothing new especially for this time of year. He suggested that we're hearing about them more because people are reporting the crimes to law enforcement. As for the motives behind the crimes, we may not even know about what's causing them to act in a sometimes violent way.
"The boredom doing the summer. they feel there is nothing to do or there's things for them to do but they just choose not to do those activities. There's also the excitement factor, the thrill-seeking," said Burke.
In most of the cases this summer, more than one person was involved in committing the crimes.
"With juveniles, sometimes you have peer pressure. An individual by themselves would not probably be committing these crimes. It's when the group gets together and you have a group leader, and you have a bunch of people saying 'OK' I think that's a great idea," said Burke.
Burke said there's also the greed factor, where teens believe they won't get caught committing a crime until they do. Teens crimes are not just things police need to deal with, the community has to as well.
Burke also mentioned that teens are very spontaneous in their actions and the crimes are not always planned.