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Swiss concerned over youth violence

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The Swiss want to increase integration efforts and repressive measures to crack down on a perceived rise in youth violence, according to a survey.

This content was published on January 21, 2007 - 15:10

A majority of the respondents came out in favour of stripping young offenders of foreign origin of their Swiss passport.

Seven out of ten people, mainly supporters of rightwing and centre-right political parties, called for tougher sentences for young criminals, the gfs.bern research institute said on Sunday.

The same percentage of respondents came out in favour of denying Swiss nationality to youngsters of foreign origin who have committed a crime. The idea was launched by rightwing groups, including the Swiss People's Party.

The proposal is particularly popular in the main German-speaking part of the country with 74 per cent, while the approval rate dropped to 64 per cent and 51 per cent respectively in the Italian- and the French-speaking regions of Switzerland.

However, integration measures are also considered necessary by citizens believed to support the centre-right and rightwing parties.

Apprenticeships

Nine out of ten respondents said they agreed with proposals to offer more apprenticeships positions, the researchers said.

Apprencticeships are the most common form for regular school-leavers to integrate into the labour market.

The latest data was collected among more than 2,000 citizens across the country between mid-December and January. The poll was commissioned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of swissinfo.

Integration of foreigners has become the most important issue in people's minds, according to gfs.bern's survey published on Friday.

Previously it was domestic issues, including unemployment, taxes and social security which had been top of the worry list.

The alleged rape of a teenage girl by a group of youths in Zurich, as well as other cases of violence in different regions of the country, shocked the Swiss public last year.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

14,106 youths (11,189 boys and 2,917 girls) were convicted of crimes in 2005, according to the Federal Statistics Office. The figure is up about 2,000 on 1999.

62.7% of the convicted youths are of Swiss nationality.

The number of convictions for driving offences, attacks against people and property-related crimes has been on the increase since 1999.

But the authorities recorded a drop in the number of drug-related offences.

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