Home Dutch News ‘Healthy’ eastern teens go on a crime spree

‘Healthy’ eastern teens go on a crime spree

Published on 06/05/2004

6 May 2004

AMSTERDAM — Almost half of all young people in the eastern part of the Netherlands have committed a criminal offence in the past 12 months. Teen boys are the worst offenders, with six out of every 10 breaking the law, it was revealed Thursday.

The surprising figures were uncovered by a survey about the health and lifestyle of secondary school children in second and fourth class in the provinces Gelderland and Overijssel.

Some 35,000 pupils took part in the survey via the internet organised by seven GGD health boards with the assistance of Maastricht University.

Asked if they had committed any crimes in the past year, 47 percent of the respondents admitted they had, with boys mainly involved in vandalism and theft.

About a quarter said they felt unsafe on the streets and 14 percent admitted to carrying an illegal weapon in their bag.

Some 5 percent said they had been involved in a serious offence and one third said they had been the victim of crime.

Asked about drink and drugs, 75 percent of the school children polled said they drank alcohol occasionally — the boys having a preference for Breezers (a mixture of a spirit like rum and a soft drink) and beer.

One out of 10 said they smoked a joint now and then, with 2 percent saying they had used hard drugs in the past month. About 12 percent said they smoked cigarettes.

The teenagers nevertheless felt they were in good physical condition, with 91 percent of respondents saying their personal health was good.

After answering the question, each teen taking part received a personal health profile with tips on how to improve their lifestyles. The organisers of the survey said this was the first time respondents got instant feedback about their health and behaviour after taking part in a survey.

About two thirds actually looked at their profiles, but it is unclear how many actually followed the advice given.

Officials in Gelderland and Overijssel will use the survey results when developing new policies for young people.

[Copyright Novum Nieuws 2004]

Subject: Dutch news