Peterborough: Youth Crime Study

A Cambridge University study into youth crime in Peterborough has shown a third of young people in the city have never broken the law.

Researchers followed 700 12 to 16 year olds over the course of ten years, and logged each crime that they admitted committing.

The research showed:

  • The 700 young people self-reported around 16,000 crimes during the ten year study.
  • A third of teenagers committed no crime at all during the study.
  • The vast majority of the remaining two thirds of teenagers committed on average one or two crimes a year.
  • Around 4% of young people were responsible for almost half of youth crime and the majority of serious crime like car thefts, burglaries and robberies.

It's hoped the study will help influence the way the government and police forces across the country deal with youth crime.

Researchers also hope their findings will lead to a more positive perception of young people.

Professor Per-Olof H Wikström, who led the study, said: "Many young people are 'crime-averse' and simply don't perceive crime as a possible course of action - it doesn?t matter what the situation is.

The idea that opportunity makes the thief - that young people will inevitably commit crime in certain environments - runs counter to our findings.

Rather, only the 'crime-prone' become vulnerable to said opportunities when taking part in environments with a moral context that encourages, or, at least, does not discourage, crime."

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