Early Warning Signs of Criminal Behavior

Criminal acts are, unfortunately, a part of life that many people find themselves facing. There are often no ways to avoid being the victim of a crime or foresee an event happening. Having access to legal representation, like this criminal lawyer in Riverside, helps. However, there are a few early warning signs that can indicate criminal behavior in those around you. 

Outbursts of Anger

Everyone gets angry on occasion. However, one of the most troubling behaviors in both children and adults is frequent outbursts of anger. Drastic mood changes, especially ones that are violent or are the result of little or no provocation should not be considered typical behavior and can be a warning sign of an underlying problem.

No Empathy Towards Others

Empathy is a measure of how much a person can identify, understand, and on some level relate to what others may be feeling emotionally. People can develop different levels of empathy ranging from empathy that is well-balanced and healthy to no empathy at all. A lack of empathy often breaks down the barrier that stops people from committing criminal acts. 

Violence Towards Others

Violence towards one’s self or others is likely a clear indicator of problematic behavior in children and adults. Studies show that when someone has violent tendencies, it could be a good indicator that the person may engage in criminal activity at some point in their life.

Road rage and fighting are often the end results, potentially sending victims to the emergency room. Domestic violence is another common result. If you’re experiencing violence at home, speak with a divorce attorney to discuss your options

Making Threats

People that make specific threats towards themselves, friends, or family members raise cause for legitimate concern. Some threats are an attempt to get attention or gain the upper hand, but they should always be taken seriously. Threats about harming or killing oneself or others should not be ignored, nor should anyone ignore threats to property. 

Other Risk Factors

There are a number of other factors to be aware of, as well. They can take on a variety of shapes and forms, but the following are clear types of risk behavior:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Poor self-regulating skills
  • Negative environment or upbringing
  • And poor social skills


Negative environments are the most difficult risk factor since people do not choose where or how they are raised. In many cases, poverty within that environment is a fast track to criminal behavior. For many, illegal activity is a quick way to gain money for things like food and clothing. 

In the U.S., 1 in 5 children are living in households that are below the federal poverty line. These conditions lead to a higher risk of poorly funded schools and increased drop-out rates, which eventually leads to higher unemployment rates and increased poverty during adulthood.