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Youth Violence and Self-Help

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image of European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice

In this article, the focus is on youth violence in neighbourhoods, including confrontations with the police. In the light of Black's theory of crime as a form of social control, we raise the question whether this kind of youth violence can be explained as a form of self-help. In the aftermath of two cases involving public disorder, we interviewed offenders, victims, bystanders and residents as well as members of the police force, the justice department and the city government about their views on the events in question as well as why they thought confrontations with the police had occurred. Based on an analysis of risk factors, we conclude that three particular conditions are necessary for youth violence: institutionalised mistrust, a neighbourhood subculture with strong elements of territoriality, and an environment that harbours a continuous threat of violence.


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