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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 November 2007, 01:39 GMT
Youngsters 'call for more police'
Young people in Bristol
Risk of crime: Young people most likely victims
Six out of 10 young people want more police on the streets to protect them from crime, according to a survey.

Of the 512 youngsters questioned, 40% said young people committed crime owing to boredom or friends' influence.

The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales said the results show many young people are frightened they will be victims of other youngsters.

At least 25 young people have been killed during 2007, of whom eight were the victims of shootings.

In its survey, the board asked youngsters aged between 10 and 17 what they thought about crime and what they wanted done about it.

It said it undertook the survey to underline that while young people have been accused of crime, they are also those at most risk. The 2007 British Crime Survey found that males aged 16 to 24 had the highest risk, with almost 14% experiencing some form of violent crime in the previous year.

Boredom key factor

Asked what they blamed for crime, 43% of those questioned said boredom, followed by peer pressure, drugs and alcohol.

Some 14% said they thought young people committed crime for entertainment. Boys between the ages of 13 and 17 were the most likely to cite boredom as the key factor in another young person's crime.

PRESUMED REASONS FOR CRIME
43%: Boredom
41%: Friends doing it
39%: Drugs
37%: Alcohol

Just under a third said parents played the key role in preventing someone committing a crime - while the same number said fear of being caught was a deterrent.

Asked what they thought would prevent crime, 60% of those questioned called for more police officers on the street. Some 31% said after-school activities would play a role in cutting crime.

Some 28% said that hiding expensive items would cut crime. Just under a quarter recommended avoiding "no go" areas in their neighbourhood.

Almost four out of 10 said they would support the government introducing harsher penalties - but also more help for young would-be law breakers to get work.

A quarter asked for potential young criminals to be given more educational support. Some 34% said they wanted more youth or sports centres.

Graham Robb, interim chairman of the YJB, said it was "positive" that young people had faith in the police to keep them safe.

"However, the underlying issue is that many young people don't feel protected outside the home and, in particular, they are afraid of other youngsters," said Mr Robb.

"This type of situation can lead some children to carry weapons for self protection and is something we must avoid at all costs. We all need to do more to make our children feel safe."

The Youth Justice Board oversees youth justice in England and Wales including measures to prevent or cut reoffending. Ipsos Mori questioned 512 youngsters aged between 10 and 17 in England and Wales during October 2007.



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