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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 June, 2004, 01:28 GMT 02:28 UK
Q&A: Youth-on-youth crime
Youth crime
Following the London stabbing of a 15-year-old boy - apparently by youths after his mobile phone - BBC News Online looks at youth-on-youth crime.

Just how safe are under 21s on Britain's streets?

How at risk of being victims of crime are youths?

The British Crime Survey 2003 found men aged 16 to 24 were the population group most at risk, with 15.1% experiencing a violent crime in the year prior to interview.

How often do young people offend against their peers?

A Mori study for the Youth Justice Board early last year found 68% of crime victims in mainstream schools and 66% in excluded projects said the offence they were a victim of was carried out by someone under the age of 18.

Graph showing ages of victims of violence in England and Wales
This was particularly the case in the most common crime complained of - being threatened by others.

Meanwhile, a Home Office research study published in January 2003 found two fifths of personal robberies involved young people as both victims and offenders (aged under 21). Just over half of all offenders were aged between 16 and 20.

The study was primarily based on samples from over 2,000 crime reports and witness statements across seven police force areas in England and Wales between January and July 2002.

Is robbery on the rise?

The same study, the Nature of Personal Robbery, noted "a marked increase in younger victims and offenders" over the 10 years ending 2002.

It said Metropolitan Police data showed that in 2000, 11 to 15-year-olds accounted for 25% of all victims, and 16 to 20-year-olds for 22%. In 1993 these two age groups accounted for 12% and 13% of all personal robbery victims.

It said suspects the percentage of suspects aged 11 to 15 years increased from 15% to 36% over the same time period.

Is this the same for other offences?

According to that study, no.

When are most young people attacked?

The study found 67% of school-aged victims were most likely to be offended against during the daytime - as were retired victims (61%). This contrasted with most victims overall being targeted at night.

Some 54% of school-aged victims were robbed during the afternoon period between 1400 and 1800 BST.

Are mobile phones often targeted?

Victims aged under 21 were most likely to have their mobile phones stolen with over a quarter taken while the victim was displaying or using the phone, according to the study.

It suggested such robberies were as related to the desirability of the handset as any other motivation.

Facts and figures

  • The Youth Survey 2003 was carried out by Mori for the Youth Justice Board between January and March 2003. MORI surveyed 4,963 11-16 year olds in mainstream education and 586 young people excluded from school and attending a special project.

  • The Nature of Robbery Report findings were based primarily on data from over 2,000 crime reports and witness statements across seven police force areas in England and Wales at varying times between January and July 2002.

  • The British Crime Survey 2003 figures are based on interviews with 36, 854 adults living in private households in England and Wales carried out by BMRB Social Research between October 2002 and September 2003.

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