Assaults by groups on the rise

The total number of assaults has fallen in recent years, but assaults by groups are on the rise .

The number of assaults carried out by groups of young people has risen dramatically, according to new Justice Ministry figures.

In 2005, 32 percent of all assaults were carried out by groups two to six young people. In 2011, those groups were responsible for 46 percent of assaults.

The number of assaults carried out by larger groups also rose from eight to 15 percent of total assaults.

Britta Kyvsgaard, who heads the Justice Ministry’s research department and compiles the ministry’s annual study of crime victims, said the result was statistically significant.

“It’s a clear sign that group violence has become more common,” Kyvsgaard told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We haven’t done any research on the causes but it’s a scary development.”

There have been several high-profile reports of unprovoked violence in recent weeks, including the assault of an 18-year-old at Nørreport station by four young men, and a 59-year-old dog walker in Odense. Both were hospitalised and were placed in medicinally induced comas.

The news led Dansk Folkeparti to call for stiffer penalties for group assaults, though the chairman of the association of judges, Mikael Sjöberg, responded that tougher sentences for those who take part in group attacks had already been passed.

While more assaults are being committed by groups, the total number of reported assaults has dropped in recent years.

In 2007 there were 22,017 reported assaults while in 2012 it was 17,983, down 18 percent.