Apparently the peak age for teenage offending is 15. A new report claims
there has been a drastic improvement in the behaviour of 15 year olds in Sweden
since the mid-1990s – and researchers are theorising that the internet is (at
least partially) responsible.
A report by the Crime Prevention Council of Sweden (Brottsförebyggande rådet -
or Brå) based on a survey of 6,500 15-year olds, found for example that 16% of
15-year olds admitted to vandalising public property (down from 32% in 1995).
Researchers are speculating that changes in teen habits are contributing to
this continuing improvement in behaviour. Fewer teenagers are meeting up
with friends or hanging around in the ‘real world’ and are socialising online
Meanwhile in the UK in 2012 there was an 8% overall reduction in crime – and
observers and analysts are debating why. One argument is that there are
fewer ‘crimes of opportunity’ for young offenders (e.g. cars are harder to
break into). There has certainly been a reduction in the amount of alcohol
consumed in the 16-25 year old age group. Reports of vandalism began to
decline in 2007 – just as smartphones were taking off. A youth worker, quoted in the Guardian, states there are “so many [other] things for kids to do” these days.