GIOVENTU » Teenage violence escalating

Teenage violence escalating

In the last two months the media have been reporting an escalation of violence involving gangs of teenagers often attacking their peers in middle-class neighbourhoods of Naples, especially where most of the nightlife takes place. 

At least eleven incidents were reported in the past two months, including the stabbing of a 17-year-old, the mugging of two teens by a gang armed with chains, and a violent beating that caused the 15-year-old victim to have his spleen removed.

Interior Minister Marco Minnitti discussed in Naples the city’s problems with the city’s prefect, law enforcement chiefs and juvenile court magistrates. 

Organised crime is deeply entrenched in Naples, where local mafia clans are recruiting increasingly younger members.

The writer Roberto Saviano - the author of the international bestseller Gomorrah, who has been living under police protection since 2006, after receiving death threats from the criminal clan he denounced in his book – reportedly affirmed that the culture of oppression is taking over in Naples.  A young generation of aspiring clan leaders are threatening rivals on Facebook and driving around the city on mopeds firing into the air to glorify mob culture and inflicting chaos on the city.

Criminal organisations are strongly rooted in the city. Juvenile state’s attorney for Naples, Maria de Luzenberger emphasised that there are many teenagers involved in mafia organisations but also very young kids who commit violence just to assert themselves and their presence on the territory. De Luzenberger linked the problem to a lack of social services, especially in the outskirts of Naples.

According to Interior Minister, Marco Minnitti, the problem can’t be solved just by sending extra officers onto the streets of Naples but a community-based approach to the violence should be sought. in Italy, only those over 14 are considered criminally responsible, therefore many of the youngest suspects cannot be charged.

Around 2,000 people took to the streets of Naples to protest against the spate of violent attacks in the area by gangs of youths.

The march went from the outskirts of the city to the Chiaiano metro station, where the 15-year-old boy called Gaetano was attacked, and later had to have his spleen removed.


The president of the Campania region, Vincenzo de Luca said he was in favour of lowering the minimum age for criminal responsibility and increase penalties.

Giulia Lombardo

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