Q&A: Why do children become violent criminals?

panorama questions and answers

Why do children become violent criminals?

“We know that the perpetrator and the victim knew each other”

The death of a 15-year-old in Salzgitter raises many questions. “It is clear that the girl died of lack of oxygen,” says Hans-Christian Walters of the public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig. In a WELT interview, he commented on the two suspects, aged 13 and 14.

A boy, aged 13 and 14, was said to have killed his classmate in Salzgitter. Juvenile delinquency has decreased in Germany in recent years. But what are the causes of violence? How often do children become violent criminals?

nAfter the violent death of a 15-year-old, the town of Salzgitter is bewildered, sad and angry. More and more people are laying flowers at the edge of the overgrown green where the dead girl was discovered on Tuesday. Student Anastasia is said to have been murdered by two boys aged 13 and 14. It is known that the alleged perpetrators and the victim went to the same school and that Anastasia suffocated.

How often do children and young adults become violent criminals?

The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) recorded 2,595 cases in Germany last year related to murder, premeditated murder or murder on demand. The number of suspects under the age of 14 in these crimes was 19, compared to 11 the year before. In the age group of 14 to under 16, 58 suspects were registered, and in the previous year there were 35. If you look at the murder suspects alone, there were only seven children under 14 in 2021. Attempted murders are also included in Statistics.

Do these numbers reflect the effects of the pandemic?

In general, according to an analysis by the German Youth Institute (DJI), violent crime among young people has been declining since 2010, although there was a slight increase in 2018 and 2019. “It does not appear that The pandemic is halting the downward trend of youth violence. This is what the latest data showed.

However, scary single acts happen over and over again. What do you know about the perpetrators?

In When Young People Kill (CHBeck Verlag), Marburg child and adolescent psychiatrist Helmut Remschmidt analyzes unknown cases from decades past. Accordingly, no one becomes a killer or a killer just because of his difficult childhood. A number of factors come together, such as personal experiences of violence, alcohol and drug abuse, or dissociative personality disorder, which can appear early, for example in animal torture. Group dynamics can also play a role.

Why do boys in particular become violent criminals?

Read also

Boys have a higher potential for aggression. This is hereditary, but also due to upbringing. In addition, boys are more likely to identify with violent criminals in movies or video games, according to the book When Young People Are Killed.

What do experts say about the call for tougher criminal law for juveniles?

Lawyer Boyers says that Germany has for decades had good experiences with the concept of education in juvenile criminal law. Especially in case of everyday crimes like shoplifting, one takes caution and stops many actions. Crime and imprisonment rates among young people in Germany are low in international comparison – this also has to do with good educational and preventive work, for example street social work in troubled areas.

Read also

Thumbnail_ IMG_3426_

defense attorney beinken

Were there such preventative programs in Salzgitter-Frydenberg, where the 15-year-old was murdered?

yes. In the area, which is often described as difficult, dismay among social workers is great. “There is a bewilderment,” says Ulrich Hagedorn, managing director of the local Workers’ Welfare Organization. In very emotional situations, it’s about being calm. “But we also emphasize that this is quite an exceptional situation and similar things do not happen regularly.” There is a risk that years of good preventative work will unravel.

Read also

Muhammad aka Luciano Sevilla

Now what happens to the suspects in the Anastasia murder case?

The 13-year-old has not yet taken criminal responsibility. The local Youth Welfare Office wants to achieve placement in a child and adolescent psychiatric facility, which must be ordered by the family court. The boy has already been evaluated by a psychiatrist. As criminologist Bowers explains, the criminally responsible 14-year-old will be examined by a psychiatrist in any case. “I suppose we’re dealing with both here with a huge need for treatment,” the expert says.

Apparently they had a complete lack of impulse control. The Juvenile Law provides a maximum prison sentence of ten years for criminals over the age of 14. This is imposed if young people are particularly guilty.

Leave a Comment