In The Netherlands registered youth crime figures show a spectacular downward trend from 2007 (minus 60%). This decrease can be seen amongst girls and boys, and also amongst ethnic minorities and the native Dutch. This trend can also be observed in a lot of other countries.
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- Youth crime
‘It is pretty embarrassing to criminology as a profession that nobody has come close to explaining the huge drops in crime experienced in industrialized countries in the last decade or so.’ This lament by Farrell et al. (2008) has set the tone for the following discussion. The international science of criminology has clearly been remiss when it comes to explaining why crime rates have declined. Only a small number of criminologists have focused on this subject in the last few years. The present contribution seeks to address the following points: (1) Have crime rates declined? Where did crime decline, and to what extent? What types of crimes have declined? What statistical resources allow us to say anything on this subject? (2) Why did crime rates decline? What plausible explanations can we provide for this reduction? We will assess several hypotheses on the basis of existing literature. (3) We will pay special attention to the so-called ‘security hypothesis’, which operates from the premise that the main driving force behind the crime reduction observed in many countries has been the increase in, and improved quality of, large-scale security measures such as immobilizers, burglary prevention measures, private security teams and crime opportunity-reducing measures. (4) Finally, this chapter presents several key conclusions.
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