Youth violence goes down in Germany, but increases in relation with refugees

A team made up of members the Criminology Research Institute of Lower Saxony and the Zurich Higher School of Applied Science have recently published a study[1] on the evolution of violence in Germany over the last decade, with reference to the young and refugees.

Police data between 2007 and 2015 show a continued drop among the young between 14 and 18 who have been arrested by the police. The figure has gone down by 50% in global terms. Obligatory school Insurance data also reflects a drop in incidents caused by acts of violence by pupils, which has gone from 14.9 per 1,000 pupils in 1999 to a mere 8.7 in 2015.

Researchers state the following factors as being among the underlying reasons for such a drop:

  • The increase in the numbers of young people who graduate has gone from 24.5 to 34.1% and youth unemployment has gone down from 15.3% to 6.8%.
  • Children who have suffered no violence at the hands of their parents has increased from 43.3% to 60.8%.
  • An increase has been noted in the care given by parents to their children, with affection being shown more frequently than before.
  • Youth consumption of alcohol has gone down notably. 21.6% of young people stated that that they consumed alcohol at least once a week in 2007, whereas in 2010 the figure had gone down to 10%.
  • The popularity of violence among the young had significantly gone down.
  • The percentage of youths who help those in need, and who participate in political activities and who respect the environment has increased from 5% to 12%.
  • Absenteeism from school has notably decreased

On the other hand, in the case of Lower Saxony, in 2015 and 2016 there was a 10.4% increase in violent crime. 92.1% of these additional cases of violence are caused by young people with the status of refugees. The following reasons are presented to justify this fact:

  • The percentage of refugees who are at an age which is prone to violent conduct (men between 14 and 30) is higher than in the native population.
  • Groups that have little prospect of obtaining a permanent residence permit are more frequently involved in acts of violence.
  • Most are from countries with very masculine cultures where violence is a test of this masculinity
  • The percentage of women among the refugees is very small (22.3%), in comparison with the global population of Lower Saxony (50.9%).
  • Victims of violent acts tend to file a report more frequently when the authors of such acts are clearly foreign.

Finally, the report emphasises that 12.6% of these violent acts involve people who belong to the same ethnic or national group, 19.6% involve refugees from a range of groups and a third of the victims are foreigners with different origins (non-refugees) and Germans.

[1] A review can be found at http://www.sueddeutsche.de/panorama/studie-zur-jugendkriminalitaet-mehr-liebe-weniger-hiebe-1.3811190!amp.

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