“255 young people have been identified in the Greater Lisbon area who are integrated in gangs that have attitudes and behaviours against the democratic legality of the State”, José Luís Carneiro told journalists, after chairing the first meeting of the Integrated Analysis Commission of Juvenile Delinquency and Violent Crime (CAIDJCV).

This commission was created after the 2021 Annual Report on Homeland Security (RASI) revealed that gang crime grew 7.7% last year compared to 2020 and juvenile delinquency rose 7.3%.

Noting that crime has been decreasing in Portugal over the last 15 years, in which Portugal ranks as the sixth safest country, the minister said that there has been an increase in juvenile delinquency, “especially in the intensity of crime, namely with recourse to firearms and bladed weapons”.

Study the causes

“As a result, a commission was created to evaluate and promote recommendations regarding how we can work upstream, that is, the causes that need to be studied”, he said.

According to the minister, it is necessary to know what effects the pandemic and lockdowns had on the attitudes and behaviours of young people, namely on mental health, what social contexts, namely poverty and exclusion, can contribute to justifying “attitudes that go against the law and undermine the rule of law”.

Comprising 14 members, the commission has a multidisciplinary character and integrates the governmental areas of Internal Administration, Justice, Education, Labour, Solidarity and Social Security and Health.

The official maintained that this commission will “work together and find, under cooperation, integrated responses to juvenile delinquency and violent crime”.