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TRENDS IN JUVENILE CRIME OVER THE PERIOD 2004-2014
Slovenia has experienced a steady decline of recorded juvenile crime in the years past its independence in 1991 and the trend has continued in the past 10 years. The number of juveniles involved in registered criminal activities has almost halved from 1912 in 2004 to 1044 in 2014, and the same is true for the number of
(Source: Police data)
registered crimes, dropping from 3349 in 2004 to 1909 in 2014. This is not a reflection of an overall drop in crime in Slovenia as the share of crime committed by juveniles has also dropped from 3.9 % in 2004 to 2.2 % in 2014 (Table 19.1).
The relatively small number of criminal activities committed by the Slovenian youth can, however, be confirmed by a self-report study done by Mesko and Bertok (2013). The study found that less than a fifth (18 %; 22 % for boys and 15 % for girls) of the surveyed youth aged 14-16 years old reported committing a criminal offense in the previous year. This puts Slovenian youth at the low end of comparative rankings (Enzmann et al. 2010).
Among experts (e.g., police officer, social workers, and school psychologists) there is no expectation of a radical shifting of the proportions of juvenile crime, in fact they expect the status quo to continue. Police officers, however, have pointed out the drop in the number of recorded crime and have expressed disconcert about the gray field of juvenile criminality, especially with respect to the (ab) uses of modern technologies (Mesko and Bertok 2013).
Among the juvenile offenders, most offenses (about 60 %) fall into the category of property crimes, a proportion that has been dropping since 2004, but gained momentum after 2012. Drug-related crimes have been on a steady rise, amounting to 7 % in 2014, while the proportion as well as the absolute number of violent crimes has been dropping steadily and now amount to about 6 % of all juvenile crime (Table 19.2).
A group of criminal offenses rarely prosecuted and hence not included in official statistics, however, arises from the Mesko and Bertok’s (2013) study. Over 50 % of the interviewed youth self-reported perusing modern technologies in order to illegally obtain copyrighted materials, most commonly movies and computer games. These
“Violent crimes: homicide, bodily harm, rape, and other forms of sexual violence bProperty crimes: theft, robbery, burglary, fraud
cDrug related crimes: unlawful manufacture and trade of narcotic drugs (Art. 196 CC), rendering opportunity for consumption of drugs (Art. 197 CC). Possession of drugs for personal use is not a crime—it is a misdemeanor dealt with by the court in a special procedure. According to Slovenian law, misdemeanors are petty offenses, such as traffic offenses or graffiti, penalized under the Code of Misdemeanors with a fine. Some educational measures can also be imposed in the case of misdemeanors (Source: Police data)
are to an extent criminalized in the Slovenian context, but rarely prosecuted and sentenced, and there have been propositions with the view of increasing education on the topic or even amending copyright laws instead of a more stringent criminal response. The relatively lax system is reflected in the views of the youth—they hardly acknowledge these acts as criminal, especially as they are rather nondeviant among their peers, and sometimes have trouble distinguishing between legal and illegal distribution of such materials (Mesko and Bertok 2013).
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