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TRENDS IN JUVENILE CRIME OVER THE PERIOD 2004-2014
Registered Juvenile Suspects
In Austria, usually the annual Crime Reports by the Federal Ministry of Interior are used to demonstrate trends in juvenile delinquency. Table 11.1 shows the data of registered juvenile suspects (i.e. persons who have been identified as alleged offenders based on a strong suspicion by police) between 2004 and 2014. In detail, the table provides the data of all police-reported alleged offenders regardless of the offenders’ age in Austria per year, as well as the data for juveniles (14 < 18) and young adults (18 < 21).
For all age groups, the absolute figures and the special crime rates (Besondere Kriminalitatsbelastungszahl—BKBZ) are included. The BKBZ refers to the number of suspects among 100,000 inhabitants of the same age, in order to see crime trends over years in a better way by eliminating demographic changes.
Table 11.1. Juvenile delinquency
Police reported alleged offenders per age group in absolute numbers (No) and per 100,000 inhabitants of the peer group in Austria (BKBZ).
Source: Austrian Ministry of Interior (annual Austrian Crime Reports—Kriminalitatsberichte)
Table 11.2. Typical offences committed by juveniles (BKBZ)
Police reported alleged juvenile offenders (all offences; offences against life and limb; property offences) per 100,000 inhabitants of the peer group in Austria (BKBZ)
Source: Austrian Ministry of Interior (Austrian Crime Reports—Kriminalitatsberichte)
From 2004 to 2008 there was an increase from about 7500 to 9000 suspects among 100,000 inhabitants of the same age (BKBZ) and from 2008 to 2014 a decrease to about 7500. The BKBZ of young adults has always been between 9100 and 10,500, only in 2014 the number went below 9000 suspects.
The figures in Table 11.1 show also that the delinquency rate of juveniles is two times as high as the average criminal delinquency rate in Austria, and the delinquency rate of young adults is even twice as high as the juveniles. These numbers underline the understanding of juvenile delinquency as being primarily a temporary phenomenon in the coming of age period, which legitimates specially adapted rules for juveniles.
Research indicates, however, that registered offences in the official statistics of police reports are influenced by internal and external factors that are not directly linked to an increase or decrease in delinquency.
The official police-registered data of juvenile delinquency significantly depends on the public’s willingness to report criminal behaviour. However, it is assumed that the increasing trend to report does not correlate to an increasing danger of falling victim to crime (Fuchs and Krucsay 2011).
The typical offences (allegedly) committed by juveniles are offences against life and limb and property-related offences (e.g. property damage and theft). The data can be seen in Table 11.2.
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