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NCJ Number: 82639 Find in a Library
Title: Why Juvenile Crime Must Increase - Notes to a Discussion
Journal: Monatsschrift fuer Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform  Volume:63  Issue:6  Dated:(December 1980)  Pages:413-418
Author(s): S Quensel
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 6
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: German
Country: West Germany (Former)
Annotation: Based on State and city (Munich, West Germany) police and court statistics (1971-77), two recent Bavarian analyses have concluded that there is no alarming rise in juvenile delinquency and that it predominantly consists of petty crime forms (shoplifting). These studies have provoked controversy and sharp critique from officials of the Federal and State criminal justice sectors.
Abstract: Findings reveal that only between 2 and 4 percent of population aged 6 to 20 come to the attention of the police annually, an increase in police juvenile statistics is balanced by a decrease in juvenile court convictions, and that shoplifting is the only type of theft on the increase among juveniles. Moreover, losses from juvenile theft average between 20 and 40 German marks, and the age of initial juvenile delinquency involvement is rising slightly, not dropping. Ever though these and other findings contradict popular, widespread myths about the extent and seriousness of juvenile delinquency, the methodology appears sound and conclusions are presented without undue polemics. Responses to these studies defend the cliche of increasing juvenile crime by attacking the researchers' motives and qualifications and arguing unrelated issues such as unreported crime, clearance rates, and subjective notions on juvenile attitudes. The style of such critiques raises suspicions that they defend vested interests of public service professionals in the juvenile justice field. Continued dramatic distortion of the juvenile delinquency issue deflects concern about criminal and destructive behaviors in other population sectors (e.g., shoplifting by the elderly, widespread traffic violations, alcohol abuse) which come closer to disrupting the complacent self-image of average citizens who find it easier to merely scapegoat the Nation's youth. One footnote is given.
Index Term(s): Critiques; Foreign juvenile justice systems; Germany; Juvenile court trends; Juvenile theft offenses; Public Attitudes/Opinion; Statistical analysis
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