Police monitor the situational picture of youth crime using a data-driven approach

Publication date 10.4.2024 11.50
News item

The National Police Board of Finland has published a report containing a comprehensive analysis of youth crime among under 21-year-olds. Another purpose of the analysis report was to produce a nationwide situational picture of youth crime.

Police have expressed concerns about the increase in violent crimes committed by minors. According to statistics, the number of violent crimes committed by juveniles under 21 has grown significantly, most notably among under 15-year-olds. To trace the background of youth crime, the National Police Board commissioned a thematic analysis, of which report has now been published.

“As a whole, youth crime is such a significant issue that a comprehensive analysis of the situation and its background is important. Based on the analysis, we know which aspects we should focus on,” says Deputy National Police Commissioner Sanna Heikinheimo about the background of the report.    

Report studies youth crime on a broad basis

Youth crime is a societal challenge that the police studies using a data-driven approach in accordance with the Government Programme. The National Police Board’s analysis functions have prepared an extensive report on youth crime. Youth crime has been analyzed on the basis of police statistics in order to identify what youth crime among under 21-year-olds is about in a broad sense. Another purpose was to produce a nationwide situational picture of youth crime.

“Various risk factors related to individuals and the society lie in the background of youth crime. Many significant social factors are associated with criminal behavior among young people. Friends and social media play a key role in young people’s criminal behavior. One of the major threats to safety in society is marginalization among juveniles,” says analyst Mika Sutela, responsible for authoring the report.

The number of suspected crimes among minors, that is, under 18-year-olds, has risen as a whole in recent years. Most crimes where the suspects are under 15 occur particularly in urban areas. Robbery and malicious damage lie at the core of youth crime. Crime against property is a common type of crime among young people in all age groups. Alongside crime against property, traffic offenses are a common type of crime among 15 to 20 year-olds.

The number of young suspects in crimes against officials and the authorities has risen in recent years. Young people’s changing attitudes, more common negativity toward authority and less respect for authority have been observed in police operations.

There is no one method or quick fix to prevent youth crime, and no individual authority is responsible for its prevention. Multiprofessional cooperation is needed as is intervention in criminal behavior at the earliest possible stage. Legislation and the internal processes of the police must be in order. In addition, maintaining a situational picture is a must. Parents and schools play a key role in preventing criminal behavior among young people. Stakeholder cooperation must strive to influence parents and they must be supported in facing challenges in parenting. The police, as an expert, should engage in deeper cooperation with schools. Communication should not be forgotten in the prevention of youth crime.

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