That is why young people end up in crime – and that is how we can avoid it

The ever-current issue of gang crime has become even more debated since the rapper Nils “Einár” Grönberg was shot to death in Hammarby lake town in Stockholm on Friday night.

Camila Salazar Atías is head of the knowledge area at Fryshuset and works, among other things, to prevent gang crime. In an interview with News24 she says that it is important to find different activities that young people can participate in.

– We know that a positive context, to be seen and confirmed is a way to compete with the gangs, she says.

Camila Salazar Atías, Knowledge Area Manager Fryshuset. Photo: Colette van Liège.

“Young people need to feel like resources, not a burden”

An example of this is a project called “We are needed” which is about educating young people in crisis management, so that they will become resources for society.

– It is important for young people to feel like a resource in society and not like a burden, says Camila Salazar Atías.

She also explains that there are many factors behind young people falling into crime. It is partly about what conditions different individuals are given.

– It can also be about societal structures, the context you grow up in, who are around you. It is a combination, says Camila Salazar Atías.

That is why young people end up in crime

It is also about so-called protection factors and risk factors.

– The fewer protection factors and more risk factors you have, the greater the risk that you end up in crime, Camila Salazar Atías explains.

When Fryshuset started with its defector program Passus 2010, there was not much knowledge that you could even get out of crime.

– When you open up such an opportunity, you immediately see what effect it can have, says Camila Salazar Atías.

Image source: Helena Landstedt / TT.

“There is a lack of systems, structures and knowledge”

Camila Salazar Atías emphasizes that there are not enough conditions and structures in Sweden for everyone to have access to dropouts.

– There is a lack of systems, structures and knowledge. The social services need to act quickly when a person turns there. If someone hears from you on the weekend, you can not say “we open on Monday, get in touch then”, she says.

The reason why it needs to go fast when a person turns to, for example, the social services is partly because there is a threat and also because you need to take advantage when the person feels motivated to take all the steps required to get out of crime, she explains.

“We must give hope for a future”

Different authorities also need knowledge in how to best provide support, explains Camila Salazar Atías.

– Healthcare, the Public Employment Service, the Social Services, everyone must be on the train and understand which doors need to be opened.

Then money is needed, explains Camila Salazar Atías.

– It is expensive to drop out for a short period, but we win in the long run. It is important that municipalities know that they can apply for money from the police, she says and concludes:

– We must give hope for other possibilities, hope for a future.

Image source: Johan Nilsson / TT.

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