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Patterns of Registered Juvenile Delinquency in Germany

Juvenile delinquency—as in other countries (see Junger-Tas et al. 2010)—in general is characterized by its petty and episodic nature (see SpieB 2012, 2015). The large majority of delinquent acts committed by juveniles are property offences, primarily theft, property damage, vandalism, and minor drug crimes. SpieB (2012) demonstrated that in 2010 69 % of all registered crimes of juveniles and 56 % of (18-20 years old) young adults comprised shoplifting, vandalism,

Police registered suspects of crimes per 100,000 of the population according to different age groups. Source

Figure 15.1. Police registered suspects of crimes per 100,000 of the population according to different age groups. Source: Heinz (2015a).

damage to property, and simple bodily injury. During the 1990s, an increase of violent crimes slightly changed the picture, but not the structure in general. The increase of violence was mainly characterized by bodily injury, often group fights without weapons. Violent acts still counted for only about 10 % (2010) of juvenile delinquency (7 %> simple bodily injury, 3 %> more serious violent acts; SpieB 2012). 2014, 54 % of violent crimes of 14-21-years-old juveniles and young adults were simple bodily injury (without weapons), 35 % severe bodily injury, 11 % robbery, 1.5 % sexual offences (incl. rape and 0.4 % (attempted) homicide. The registered prevalence rate for bodily injury decreased very considerably, for severe bodily injury from 2007 to 2014 by 45 % (see Heinz 2015a; SpieB 2015). Therefore, juvenile delinquency is not seen as a major problem of the German society. Other age groups such as adults between 21 and 40 between 1998 and 2008 showed a strong increase of registered prevalence rates (+20 % and +40 %, whereas the rates for juveniles and young adults decreased.

Self-Reported Juvenile Delinquency and Victimization

In the last representative poll with regard ninth grade pupils in Germany in 2007/8 44 % of male and 24 % of female juveniles report having committed one of the 12 crimes or delinquent acts. However, vandalism, simple bodily injuries

Self-reported delinquency of ninth grade pupils in Germany, 2007/2008. Source

Figure 15.2. Self-reported delinquency of ninth grade pupils in Germany, 2007/2008. Source: Baier et al. (2009: 69, Figure 5.6); Heinz (2015a).

(without weapons) and shoplifting dominated, whereas serious crimes like robbery or serious bodily injury remained the exception. Young females—with the exception of shoplifting—show significant lower prevalence rates than their male counterparts (see Heinz 2015b: 276 and Fig. 15.2 above; Enzmann 2010: 58 ff).

 
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