View of youth crime ‘shaped by media’

More than 40 per cent of the public believe that half of all crimes
are committed by young people, according to a new report.

The survey, published by the Policy Press, reveals a pessimistic
view of youth crime heavily influenced by the media.

About 60 per cent of respondents claimed that media reports had
influenced their views.

Researchers found that nearly 80 per cent of the 1,692 people
polled believed the number of young offenders had increased over
the previous two years, despite official figures showing a 9 per
cent fall.

Although most people saw the youth justice system as “too lenient”,
more than half supported the use of community sentences.

Many thought discipline in schools was the most effective way to
prevent youth crime, followed by tougher sentences and more

If the offender had made some restorative steps, such as writing a
letter of apology to the victim, support for custody declined
further. There was also support for education, treatment and work

The report reflected public ignorance about the youth justice
system, with more than three quarters of those questioned having
not heard about youth offending teams.

The report was carried out by King’s College, London, and the
University of Ottawa.

l Researching Criminal Justice from

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