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Youth Criminality in Juvenile Sentencing Statistics

Juvenile sentencing statistics include minors who have been convicted of an offense or crime in accordance with the CC. In contrast to the PCS, petty crimes are not included, which prohibits a comparison of the numbers.

The data included in the juvenile sentencing statistics also reveal a clear decline in numbers, such as a drop of 37 % between 2004 and 2014. In this category, the percentage of young girls among convicted minors is much lower than among young boys. According to the juvenile sentencing statistics, the most frequent crimes include theft, property damage, and unlawful entry. Crimes of assault, verbal abuse, falsification of identification cards, and pornography are also frequently committed by juveniles. Consistent with reliable international findings on youth criminality, the numbers among juvenile offenders in Switzerland show the absolute primacy of incidents of minor offenses, whereas serious crimes are hardly represented.

The Dark Figure of Crime

Comparative nationwide Swiss research results on the dark figure of juvenile crime were published for the years 1992 and 2006. For these years a decline of crime rates can be ascertained for some crimes and an increase in crime rates for others (Killias et al. 2007; Killias et al. 2010). Beyond that there are studies that focus on specific subjects (Riedo 2013) though they provide conflicting findings: some report an increase of crime rates, specifically violent crimes, while others argue the trend is moving downward (Eisner et al. 2000; Ribeaud & Eisner 2008). At least for the most recent years, most of the studies agree that the statistics reflect an actual decline in youth criminality. This phenomenon is evident in other European countries as well.

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