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Imported Violence?: Juvenile Delinquency Among Balkan Youths in Switzerland and in Bosnia-Herzegovina

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 16 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2010 Pages: 183-189
Martin Killias; Almir Maljevic; Sonia Lucia
Date Published
September 2010
7 pages
This study compared delinquency and violence of youth in Switzerland and in Bosnia-Herzegovina to juveniles of Swiss background and among immigrant juveniles who live in Switzerland.
Results contradict the popular "culture conflict" perspective, and also disconfirm the popular idea that high violent rates among Balkan juveniles may be late outcomes of war traumas. Whatever the consequences of such traumas, they could not explain why juveniles living (and often born) in Switzerland are admitting more violent offenses than those still living in Bosnia-Herzegovina, since the latter have been more often exposed to such adverse influences. Rather, the most plausible explanation may be that juveniles from migrant families living in Switzerland (and possibly other European countries) face more problems in adapting to every-day life. The highly permissive Swiss society may prove a difficult culture into which ethnic parents are able raise their children, and prepare them to better integrate. The lifestyle where youths staying out late in the evenings with exposure to deviant activities, including gang activities, may be hard for parents to control especially if they themselves were never exposed to such influences during their own adolescence. Results suggest that attention should focus more on the conditions of successful integration in the host country and less on cultural and ethnic aspects. Assisting migrant parents in finding adequate local leisure-time activities for their children may be a suitable way to improve social integration and to prevent violence within this group. Tables and references