Young gangs cost Dutch society "hundreds of millions" per year: Study
Criminal and problem causing groups of young people cost Dutch society hundreds of millions of euros per year, according to a study by bureau Cebeon. The study "Costly friendships" was commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice, AD reports.
This is the first time the costs of criminal and problem causing youth gangs were calculated, according to the newspaper. The Netherlands counted almost 200 such groups in 2014.
The study looked at costs including criminal damage, school attendance officers deployment, lower labor participation, debt counseling and lost taxes. As young people in these groups often abuse alcohol and drugs, they are more often involved in road accidents and violence, so medical expenses were also added to the calculations.
The researchers concluded that each youth gang comprised of hardened criminals - such as violent drug dealers - costs society about 1.9 million euros per year. Youth gangs that fall under the problem causing category, instead of criminal, cost society about 1.5 million euros per year. These groups are comprised mostly of petty criminals.
The study focused on one large Dutch municipality. According to the researchers, the social costs may well be higher. The study calculated costs over a period of ive years. But young people who spend the rest of their lives in crime, may cost society much more.
"I am shocked by the level of these amounts", Henk Ferwerda, criminologist and expert in the field of problematic youth gangs, said to AD. According to him, working on preventing young people with antisocial behavior from growing into criminals, can save the Netherlands a lot of money. "In Amsterdam the brothers and sisters of juvenile offenders are already approached by aid workers. The sooner you intervene, the better."