Friday, May 26, 2006

Shock: most young people not delinquent

Shock: most young people not delinquent shouts the ironic headline of this ARCH post.

"A new report slipped out from the Home Office yesterday: ‘delinquent youth groups and offending behaviour’. Using figures from the British Crime Survey, the researchers have studied the features of what they describe as ‘delinquent’ groups using the following criteria:

* Young people who spend time in groups of three or more (including themselves).
* The group spend a lot of time in public places.
* The group has existed for three months or more.
* The group has engaged in delinquent or criminal behaviour together in the last year.
* The group has at least one structural feature (a name, an area, a leader, or rules).

We’re not sure what ‘delinquent’ means if it’s used as a separate category from ‘criminal’, but that aside, if you read the papers you’ll already know that young people are generally a walking crime wave that terrorises decent, respectable citizens, right? Well, actually, no.

Using the criteria above, the researchers found that just 6% of young people belong to a ‘DYG’ (cool acronym, eh?). And if you’ve ever shrunk against the wall when a group of hoodie-clad black teenagers shuffles past, you’re wasting your energy: less than 1 in 500 ‘DYGs’ consists of black children. By far the most common offence committed by ‘DYGers’ was taking drugs (51%)."

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