There are various risk factors—multiple environmental and developmental experiences—that may lead to criminal behavior. Some examples of these risk factors may include but are not limited to, a history of violence, abuse or trauma, substance abuse, peer rejection, or cognitive limitations. These risk factors can be further broken down into the risk of impact to the individual, family, peer, and community. Multiple protective factors have been identified as having a significant propensity to reduce risk. These factors include promoting strong attitudes against violence, success in academic achievement, and forming positive peer relationships. There is a significant amount of literature available that examines the salience of each risk and protective factor.

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