Is talk of 'rising' youth violence in France a reality or a political tool?

French authorities have set about cracking down on “ultra-violent” youth after a series of teen crimes. But researchers say that youth violence is not necessarily on the rise and that rather, politicians are overemphasising it as an election ploy.

Since the start of the year, French media have been reporting on violent crimes involving teens including, most recently, the stabbing death of a 15-year-old in Chateauroux.

This came after another 15-year-old was beaten to death last month by young people outside his Viry-Châtillon school, days after a 14-year-old girl was left unconscious after being attacked outside her school in Montpellier.

The crimes led Prime Minister Gabriel Attal to announce a “public consultation” on youth violence in France.

But despite these heavily publicised events, actual statistics do not back claims that youth violence is on the rise.

"The trend over more than 20 years is overall stability," sociologist Laurent Mucchielli told RFI, adding that the current focus on young people can be boiled down to political rhetoric.

More in the Spotlight on France podcast, listen here:

For Mucchielli, who has long studied youth delinquency in France, a media focus on such crimes gives the impression of an increase.

Read more on RFI English

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