Why is there a spike in youth violence?


In a month, two young people, Samuel and Isaac have died and another, Alexander, has been seriously injured in three events that occurred in different cities but with a common denominator: they were attacked by groups of young people. Does the violence youth? Is there a hate crime behind these cases? Has the confinement influenced?

Several experts consulted by Efe have answered these questions and, for the most part, do not appreciate a notable increase in violent actions of this type, but rather more brutality and a greater rmedia impact because, as has happened in the last more serious ones, someone has recorded them and images has been reproduced ad nauseam.

Profiles are more violent than ideological

Nor have the security forces verified a rebound of this type of beatings, although police sources acknowledge that those that occurred in A Coruña, where Samuel died; in Madrid, which ended Isaac’s life; or in Amorebieta (Bizkaia), which left Alexander very seriously, have been especially brutal.

“It is not that they happen now more than in other moments. The difference is that now they are recorded and disseminated”, points out one of the police officers consulted, who insists that in most cases there is neither a hate crime nor an ideological motivation behind it.

Because many times they choose the victim at random, without knowing her, this agent insists. As highlighted, the profile of these aggressors is that of young people (often minor repeat offenders) for whom violence is their way of having fun.

The police reports, indicates another agent, do not reflect an increase in the number of this type of events. “It has not been confirmed that there is currently an increase in these fights”, A third police officer agrees, who sees the activity of Latino gangs and their use of knives, such as machetes, as more worrying.

The diluted responsibility

Meanwhile, forensic psychologist and former child ombudsman Javier Urra says he is “very concerned” about the latest cases of youth violence in Spain. Explain what they are “symptomatic” of a lack of “moral conscience” on the part of a small sector of youth, which acts as a group because of the impunity conferred by the so-called “diluted responsibility”.

Urra wonders if the relatives of these young people could imagine that they exercised such extreme violence and “without limits”. Some “banalized” attacks, as evidenced by the intention to record them so that they are “imitated and applauded.”

In your opinion, hate crimes are behind only some cases due to “lack of respect for the different.” However, it points to the absence of “self-control”, “insensitivity” and the intake of inhibitors -alcohol and drugs- as determining factors when committing all kinds of aggressions.

In a personal capacity, asks the media to tell the population about the criminal consequences suffered by the attackers in order to “raise awareness” among others and stop the spiral of violence.

The mirror of the Latin bands

Joan Caballero is a specialist in violent urban groups and works as an analyst at the Center for Studies and Initiatives on Discrimination and Violence. He does not hesitate to assure that the “whitening” of certain hate speech from the far right it has had a notable impact on the “upswing” of this type of crime.

However, he remarks that the debate is not there. He says that the modus operandi of the aggressor groups reflects a “worrying impunity” by the authorities.

It ensures that groups such as ‘The Koala brothers’ by Amorebieta are organized and are imitators of the discipline of Latin bands like the Latin Kings. For this reason he refers to them as “mimetic groups” that preach with the “cult of violence” and control their territory.

For Caballero, the relaxation of restrictions due to the pandemic is a factor to take into account. He explains that the young people “have petado psychologically” and have returned to go to unguarded areas such as parks where they make a bottle. There, he points out, a simple glance is enough to commit an attack.

Hate in youth “bullying”

The president of the Movement against Intolerance, Esteban Ibarra, focuses on the hateful behaviors framed in social networks. “There is a lot of impunity,” he stresses. Specifically, it says that there are discourses that stigmatize and generate rejection of the different.

On the typology of attacks in recent weeks indicate that there is “youth bullying” and “youth bullying with hatred.” He describes these groups as “packs” that, after the end of the state of alarm, have led to a resurgence of urban violence.

“There is no rebound,” he says, but yes a greater “media sensitivity” caused by the disclosure of the recordings showing the assaults. Ibarra regrets the lack of “preventive policies” and proposes a specific investigation of trends in youth violence and hate crimes.

More than rebound, brutality

Ana Isabel Corchado is a professor at the Complutense University of Madrid and an expert in risk behaviors and violence among young people and adolescents. Like Urra, he points “without a doubt” to the diluted responsibility as the main factor of impunity for the aggressor groups.

He explains that he does not perceive an increase in cases, but a greater “brutality” leading to fatal beatings or seriously injured victims. Corchado affects the family environment as the origin of the aggressive profile of many of these young people. “It causes violent attitudes to be recurrent,” he says. Boredom, he says, has been a widespread sensation among them. By relaxing the restrictions, they have once again felt unpunished for committing assaults.

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