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Juvenile delinquency: number of crimes and victims on the rise

The number of adolescents who have committed or experienced violence has increased, a representative survey shows.

A study published in 2022 shows that juvenile violence is on the rise in Switzerland. The ZHAW School of Social Work and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland conducted a survey in 2021 in which more than 11,000 adolescents participated. Compared to a corresponding survey conducted in 2013, more adolescents stated that they had committed or been victims of a crime. Patrik Manzoni, co-author of the study from the ZHAW Institute of Delinquency and Crime Prevention, says that their results tend to corroborate police crime statistics.

More shoplifting and victim’s experiences 

Of the respondents, 29% (2013: 16%) stated that they had shoplifted at some point in their lives. Furthermore, 15% (2013: 11%) confessed to vandalism, and over 14% (2013: 11%) have carried a weapon at least once. For the first time, adolescents were also surveyed about crimes committed online, with 8% saying they had sent hate messages on at least one occasion and over 4% admitting having sexually harassed someone online. Additionally, the rate of adolescents who had experienced crime at least once in their life increased significantly. In most cases, they were victims of theft (43%), abuse by parents (33%) or threats on social media (19%). While the number of crimes increased, they were committed by a smaller number of people: 5% of adolescents were responsible for three-quarters of all reported crimes. The study is part of the International Self-Report Delinquency Study (ISRD). It is the world’s largest survey to analyse juvenile delinquency and victimisation and has now been conducted for the fourth time.

Study: “Juvenile delinquency in Switzerland” (in German)