Young too lazy to commit crime?

The success of the social networking website Facebook and the popularity of devices like the smartphone and the tablet have also brought some unexpected benefits to our shores. As these devices occupy our youth, fewer and fewer young people are finding time on their hands in which to engage in mischief and fewer youngsters are being called upon to appear before a youth magistrate.

In 2010 minors suspected of crimes featured in no fewer than 83,000 dossiers. Today the figure has been slashed by a third.

Crime expert Ellen Van Dael points out that as a result of young people's fascination with social media fewer and fewer youngsters are venturing outside nowadays.

Youth crime expert Stefaan Pleysier agrees: "More and more youngsters are sticking behind their PCs and we've noticed a slump in the figures. Our youngsters have become more law abiding or lazier. It depends how you look at it."

Jenneke Christiaens, another crime expert, takes a different view: "On social media you can do lots of things that are problematic and may not be legal. These activities may not yet show up in our figures."

It's a funny world. Nowadays youngsters have a far harder time doing anything illegal without somebody else noticing. Stefaan Pleysier: "There's more security. There are cameras everywhere and people with a smartphone who can film everything. The fear of being caught is far greater."