However, the Juvenile Brigade and the justice system are reassuring. And speak of a phenomenon “in waves”.
You have to zoom out. This is the advice of the head of the Lausanne juvenile brigade, Commissioner Granger, when asked about juvenile delinquency. Louis Dana, a socialist elected official, is concerned in an arrest that the quantity of criminal cases transmitted to the Juvenile Court will increase by 55% between 2018 and 2019.
«I am well aware that this does not yet mean that the crime of minors is increasing, nuances the chosen one. But with my colleague Claude-Nicole Grin, we were surprised by these figures presented within the framework of the management commission.» He believes that explanations should be provided. And warns: the response to a possible phenomenon, if there is one, cannot be entirely secure. «I don’t have an alarmist approach», he still defends himself.
2018 particularly calm
So let’s zoom out. Commissioner Granger said at the outset that the 55% increase shows above all that the year 2018 was particularly low in terms of minors brought before the court. And that the figure for 2019 is rather close to the years 2014 to 2016. «These figures reflect the activity of the brigade but say nothing about any underlying trends», sums up Jean-Marc Granger.
A figure impossible to interpret alone, therefore, and which should be compared with the statistics of youth crime.
The annual report of the order court of Vaud defines the perimeter that interests us ici clike this: «The Juvenile Court hears offenses (tickets, misdemeanors and crimes, prosecutable ex officio or on complaint) to the Criminal Code and to federal and cantonal laws committed by minors aged 10 to 18 years; except for tickets which fall under municipal jurisdiction.»
Judicial statistics attest to the opening, in 2019, of 2,672 cases for the entire canton of Vaud, i.e. 6% more than in 2018. A difference llight (154 files), according to Patrick Auberson, first president of the Juvenile Court.
A minor for several offenses
«It should also be borne in mind that there can be ten cases for a single minor who has multiplied crimes and who thus inflates the statistics», explains Commissioner Granger. One or two small groups of young people have had around twenty files to their credit, says the head of the brigade.
Can we nevertheless identify trends? What was 2019 made of? Delinquency must be understood as a succession of waves, answer the head of the juvenile brigade. An area that fluctuates a lot.
Have the strikes for the climate caused the appearance of this peak of last year? Yes, but “not that much,” we are told. “Many more adults have been affected,” said Commissioner Granger. The president of the Juvenile Court, Patrick Auberson, confirms. For him, nothing marked the year 2019 in particular. In Lausanne or in the rest of the canton.
Every year, groups of juvenile offenders who were more or less active during their adolescence reach their majority and thus leave the statistics. Then there is the appearance of new phenomena that do group damage, but the duration of which is limited. «All the scams related to social networks are a good example. They can bring a peak of minors referred for breach of trust or scam. This goes on six at eight months and then drops, once the scam is known.»
The ripple effect, characteristic of adolescence, can make climb the numbers. As a gang begins to damage property in a school, for example, the statistics take the lift. «But it is also in this kind of framework that we manage, even better today than before, to identify the problem, to act and at stop the thing», said Commissioner Granger.
The head of the juvenile brigade assures him: l’judicial, social and police supervision of young people has improved considerably. And the violence has been decreasing steadily for decades. «We are all pulling together.» Patrick Auberson does not say anything else: «The right of minors is based on education and protection. We try to help them and the youth as a whole are doing well! More when offenses are committed, it goes without saying that we sanction them.»
The first president also pointed out that increases in percentages can be, in this area at least, very misleading. And prefers to speak in absolute numbers which, according to him, allow a better understanding of the state of the situation.
Published today at 7:35 am