Prevention of Juvenile Violence in Germany

Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer
Kriminologisches Forschungsinstitut Niedersachsen (KFN) e. V.

Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, Germany

Prevention of Juvenile Violence in Germany

Looking at police statistics of Germany one gets the impression that juvenile violence has been rising steadly for more than 20 years. But a closer look at the data reveals a different picture: Since 1993 a 40 percent decline of homicide and for the last 10 years a 20 percent decline of robbery. But for aggrevated assault we see the opposite trend – a strong increase since 1988. In addition to that repeated studies on self-reported juvenile violence show that there is no general trend. In some regions and larger cities the rate of intensive offending (5 violent offences during the last 12 months) is going up, in others it is declining. And for the last 10 years the severe cases of school violence have gone down by more than 30 percent.

The question arises if those trends can be explained by different strategies or local projects to prevent juvenile violence? What have the schools done to reduce school violence? To which extend is that trend related to a new cooperation between police and schools? Can we relate the positive trends to a remarkable reduction of family violence which we can perceive since 1998? Are the regional discrepancies in trends of juvenile violence related to a different integration policy towards young migrants? Why is the decrease of juvenile violence in some cities restricted to young Germans and why does it in other regions also include young youth from different ethnic minorities? What are the perspectives of preventing juvenile violence in Germany for the next five or ten years if we take into our consideration that child poverty is growing fast?

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