Stats show immigrants account for 20% of youth crime
Report presented to Ministerial Committee for Combating Violence; Study shows a decline in violence since 2003.
By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
Although immigrants constitute 10 percent of all youth in Israel, they are responsible for 20% of the crimes carried out by youth throughout the country. This alarming figure was presented Tuesday during a meeting of the Ministerial Committee for Combating Violence, at which leading political figures discussed some of the most pressing problems facing Israeli society in combating violence.
The topics that the committee focused on in the morning meeting at the Prime Minister's Office included the "City Without Violence" project, sport violence, violence against local council heads and crime among immigrant youth.
"In the last week we have been witnesses to additional cases of youth murder. Triko Adma, 17, from Rehovot was stabbed to death by a bored youth, and yesterday 17-year-old Pavel Kozlov succumbed to the injuries he sustained after being beaten during the 'From Russia With Love' concert that was held last month," said Public Security Minister Avi Dichter at the opening of the meeting. "The violence among the youth is declining, but I am terrified of its power. It has taken us dozens of years to be freed of stereotypes of groups that made aliya from the Diaspora, and we must fight those stereotypes now as well."
Although data presented at the meeting indicated that 20% of all youth crime in Israel was carried out by immigrants, the data also indicated that since 2003, there has been a decline in youth violence. Criminality among immigrant youth was also included in this decline.
Nevertheless, law enforcement representatives reported at the meeting that they had encountered three weak points in their treatment of immigrant youth. They cited the fact that law enforcement authorities did not have enough officers who spoke the relevant languages and that this problem often was a factor leading to confusion as to how to proceed in criminal cases against the youngsters.
In addition, they also criticized problems in information sharing due to the large number of bodies who have jurisdiction over various aspects of care for immigrant youth.
In 20 different communities, police reported that they had enacted a new plan that provides a closer and more personalized support structure in dealing with the problems relating to at-risk immigrant kids.
In their discussion of sports violence, the ministerial committee okayed the Sport Violence Committee's recommendations for combating that phenomenon, most recently seen during the stampede at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium. Among other decisions, the ministers supported the committee's recommendation to carry out an experiment combating the phenomenon at two major sports fields - Kiryat Eliezer in Haifa and Tel Aviv's Bloomfeld Stadium.
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