City Tackles Juvenile Crime

Knut Nygaard, Aftenposten (Oslo), June 6, 2008

New crime statistics released Wednesday show that just 20 youth are together responsible for 324 offenses in the capital last year.

One 17-year-old boy has the dubious distinction of already having 90 offenses on his police record. He was arrested 12 times last year alone, mostly for theft.

He tops the list of the 20 most active criminals under the age of 18. Last year’s most active offender under the age of 18 was just 15 years old. He was arrested 39 times and has a total of 61 offenses on his record since 2004.

Almost all the juvenile offenders are boys. Only one girl was on the list. She piled up 10 offenses last year alone.

Oslo’s top politician, municipal board leader Erling Lae of the Conservatives, said the city is setting up a program with the police aimed at tackling the juvenile crime problem.

“We need a series of measures, like contact with the families, and following up children from the time they start school until they start working,” Lae said. “We can never do enough, but we must try to make sure that some groups don’t fall out.”

Lae doesn’t think the city has been successful in integrating immigrant families into the community. Around 50 youth account for some 20 percent of all juvenile crime in Oslo, and 66 percent of the 50 aren’t ethnic Norwegians, even though many have Norwegian citizenship.

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