Worldwide phenomenon

Men of this age are most likely to be criminals

11.07.2024 13:45

Gang fights among young people are currently shaking up Viennese districts. There are repeated calls for higher penalties and a lowering of the age of criminal responsibility from the current 14 years to around 12 years. Now the probation association Neustart has spoken out.

"Nobody who hits someone in a fight thinks about how high the penalty for assault is," says Thomas Marecek from Neustart Vienna. Locking them up for as long as possible only postpones the problem. "Every prison sentence comes to an end." If the young person then falls back into the same structures, there is a high risk of reoffending.

In fact, male adolescents between puberty and their early 20s are at the highest risk of reoffending. This phenomenon can be observed worldwide. "After that, the probability of becoming a delinquent decreases again," says Marecek.

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Nobody who hits someone during a fight thinks about how high the penalty for assault is.

Thomas Marecek, Neustart Wien

"Many have experienced violence themselves"
To prevent a criminal career from following a conviction at a young age, more sustainable solutions are needed, such as probation services and other social interventions. Probation assistance leads to a life free of crime for around two thirds of young people, provided it has been completed in full. According to Marecek, those affected must be confronted with their crime and other solutions must be sought. "Many of those who have used violence, for example, have experienced violence themselves and have learned that this is a way to assert themselves."

Police intervention necessary
Neustart recommends regulated structures, preferably in the form of a job, which is associated with an orderly daily routine and a new social environment. 

Last year, 1388 young people were convicted throughout Austria, compared to 2248 in 2013. However, the hotspots are concentrated in a few public places such as parks or subway stations in Vienna. "Of course, the population has a right to expect solutions here. Police measures are also necessary here," says Marecek.

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