Criminal Justice Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



This presentation comparatively examines relationships in the United States, Eastern and Central Europe, Scandinavia, and parts of the Middle East among juvenile violence, "heavy metal" music, substance abuse, and participation in occult and "alternative" youth groups (e.g., Wicca, Satanism, vampirism, Goth). We trace the movement of certain groups, behaviors, and preferences and make a correlation between some of these movements and an increase in youth violence and substance abuse. The authors use results from surveys and participant observations in the U.S., Copenhagen, Germany, the Netherlands, & the Middle East (Egypt & Turkey) that indicate, however, that mere participation in these groups and lifestyles may not be directly related to violence and other problems such as substance abuse. Instead, societal and police response may contribute to feelings among the youth of being ostracized and socially isolated, which may, in turn, contribute to the development of violence and other anti-social behaviors. We provide suggestions for police and societal responses that may alleviate the potential for relatively harmless youth participation in these groups and lifestyles to escalate into something more threatening and harmful, both for society and for the involved youth.


Presented as part of a session called: Perceptions of police functioning and integrity: International and comparative perspectives. The paper was delivered during the American Society of Criminology’s 61st Annual Meeting: Criminology & Criminal Justice Policy, which took place from November 4-7, 2009 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.