OP-ED/A generation in search of better opportunities

OP-ED/A generation in search of better opportunities

This article has been written for Albanian Free Press newspaper and www.albanianfreepress.al

By Plator Nesturi

Recently, there’s been a rise in the number of petty crimes, perpetrated mainly by young generations. These sorts of crimes do not get the necessary space on the media, besides cases when they end up in a tragic way. These cases range from small street robberies to drink driving over the speed limit. The perpetrators are mainly teenagers and police statistics seem to suggest a growing trend, which is becoming a cause for concern.

Adolescence has always been seen as the most difficult period in the life of a person. Physical and psychological changes make this part of life one of the trickiest ones in terms of the thoughts that go through a persons’ mind and the way this person is influenced from the external world. But, in Albania, situation with this category are worsening and this is indicated by the figures. Violence, alcohol and narcotic substances are alarming. A recent study carried out by UNICEF suggests that Albania has registered a growing number of minors who are convicted by courts. The majority of them are convicted for theft, physical injuries, prostitution and unlawful possession of fire arms. According to authorities, one in five people in Albania has problems with the law. But, what are the origins of these problems? Media is one of the main sources. In a way or another, media has a direct impact on the lives of these youngsters, offering models of people who earn their living very easily. By not having any clear models to be followed, other negative factors come into play. The growth of the production of narcotic substances is increasingly attracting youngsters, because society is not offering them hope for the future. One in four youngsters in Albania has consumed cannabis at least once. Meanwhile, domestic problems, the lack of harmony within families, have often led these youngsters to follow aggressive and hostile behaviours, which sometimes also include the use of fire arms. Another factor which has an impact, mainly in rural areas, is extreme poverty. This turns into a crucial factor which obliges these young people to leave school and resort to street crimes, mainly through thefts and the sale of narcotic substances, in order to secure incomes for their families. Statistics for the past ten years suggest that the most common criminal offense perpetrated by minors is petty theft. Figures also seem to suggest that the number of youngsters convicted for illegal possession of weapons has increased to 232. The number of youngsters convicted of production and sale of narcotic substances is 99. The number of youngsters convicted of driving without a driver’s licence is 319, while the number of youngsters convicted of violating road regulations is 64. Prostitution is another criminal offense, which, in the past ten years, has seen 11 minors being convicted. All of these statistics are a cause for concern and offer a picture, which becomes more and more serious as the years go by. This is an age group which has no role model, besides the gangster who lives a luxury life by breaking the law. The lack of opportunities that society offers has lead to a number of problems which are encountered in Albanian families. Investing more in this age group means investing in the future of this country.

Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Albanian Free Press’ editorial policy