Violence Trending in Virginia

Teenage involvement in violence has reached a new high

Erin Hogge, Managing Editor

One choice you make can be what determines your future forever.
While the trend of violence is decreasing in Virginia as a whole, teenagers are still susceptible to being pushed into things they may not necessarily want to do; this is called peer-pressure.

There are countless factors that may influence a teenager to do something more so than an adult. Because teenagers have a naturally lower maturity level than adults do, they are more likely to fall victim to pressure from their friends.

Violent acts often occur when teens cannot say “no” to others in potentially dangerous situations. Lack of judgement when making a decision can have devastating effects. Principal Major Warner believes that teens should be more aware of how their actions can affect others.

“Make a conscious effort to think about the negative implications of the decision you are about to make,” Warner said. “I think if people did that and listened to their inner voice, we would see fewer negative issues relative to peer pressure.”

In addition to day-to-day peer-pressure, teens may feel the need to be included in the “thrill” of a crime. Criminal activity as vicious as murder is included in the category of violent crime for juveniles. Junior Katie Yeager has experienced the heartbreaking effect of a violent act firsthand.

“My hairdresser, Linh Pham, was shot and killed at Atlas Walk by her ex-boyfriend,” said Yeager. “It was really sad because she had a young daughter and because of this her daughter’s life will never be the same.”

The event caused Yeager to think more deeply about how her actions can alter another person’s life.

“Now I am more aware of what the choices I make can do to people around me,” said Yeager. “Making kind decisions is something that could save a life.”

There have been more and more crimes in our area recently involving teenagers and younger people. The crime rate in Virginia for juveniles is continuing to decrease in the state as a whole, but is gradually rising in Northern Virginia.

When asked what he hopes to see in the new year related to crime, Warner said, “A shift in behavior and young people making healthy, responsible choices.”

The actions of one person can affect the people around them in numerous ways. Before you act, think about how it could change the life of another person.