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Juvenile crime dips as violent cases rise

2013-05-31 08:55 Shanghai Daily     Web Editor: Wang YuXia comment

The number of juvenile criminals has dropped nearly 50 percent in six years but the level of violence is on the rise, the Shanghai Higher People's Court said yesterday.

Last year, local courts handled 1,349 juvenile suspects, about half of the number in 2007, when such cases peaked in Shanghai. But some teenagers received longer jail terms or life in prison because their crimes led to some deaths or serious injuries, the court said.

"The cases involving juveniles are more violent than before," said Zou Bihua, vice president of the higher court.

Zou said some teenagers may be influenced by violent video games and movies that inspire them to use violence to solve problems.

In one case, a teenager whose name was not revealed stabbed someone a dozen times with a knife because the victim accidentally kicked him.

"The dispute was very minor but the teenager overreacted in such a violent way," Zou said.

Zou said violent games and movies should be banned for children and teenagers under 18 years old to prevent them from thinking violence is acceptable.

The court said 80 percent of juvenile suspects in the city are from other areas of the country as there has been an influx of such people in recent years.

"Preventing migrant children from committing crimes has become an important task for us," said Zhu Miao, director of the guidance department for juvenile cases with higher court.

"Cases involving juveniles from other parts of the country has been above 80 percent for the past three years," Zhu said.

"Migrant children have a higher school drop-out rate and they are often not as well-looked after by their parents, who are often busy working or indifferent to them," Zhu said.

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