• Those aged under-35 are most likely to have committed an offence in past year
• Offences included speeding, taking illegal substances and urinating in public
• 'Millennials' also most likely to try and justify criminal behaviour
A new survey suggests that those under the age of 35 are driving an ‘indifferent attitude to crime’ as millennials are revealed as the group most likely to have committed a criminal offence in the past year.
A report by the national law firm, Stephensons, reveals that more than 50 per cent of UK adults admit to committing one or more ‘everyday crime’ in the past year, but many are in complete denial about their offending, with 96 per cent claiming to be a ‘law abiding citizen’.
However, millennials – those aged between 18 and 34 – are most likely to offend, with nearly 70 per cent admitting to criminal activity in the past twelve months. Millennials were also the group least likely to identify as a ‘law abiding citizen’ – 90 per cent.
By contrast, 99 per cent of ‘baby boomers’ suggested they were a law abiding citizen and were the group least likely to have committed an offence.
According to the report, younger people are more likely to try and justify or explain away criminal acts and more than half of those aged 18-24 claimed they ‘knew they wouldn’t get caught’.
The findings also reveal that men are far more likely to have committed an offence in the past twelve months – 61 per cent - compared to less than half of women. Equally, men were more likely to try and downplay their law breaking, while women were more likely to express remorse or regret for their actions.
Driving offences - including breaking the speed limit, eating or drinking behind the wheel and using a mobile phone while driving - made up three of the top five offences committed in the past year, alongside dropping litter and illegally downloading, streaming or torrenting films, music and video games.
Other offences included driving through a red light, failing to be registered on the electoral roll, theft from supermarkets or the workplace and urinating in public.
Only a quarter of those polled said that they regretted their actions, but a similar figure – 24 per cent – said that committing the crime was justified because they ‘disagreed with the law’.
Sean Joyce, Head of Regulatory and Criminal Justice at Stephensons, who commissioned the study, said: “The research shows that many millions of people in the UK are breaking the law on a day-to-day basis.
“What is striking is the apparent differences in the perceived impact and ramifications of such acts between the generations.
“In my experience, because these types of offences are often seen as ‘minor’ in nature – perhaps because they are committed so often and by so many – they do not produce the feelings of guilt or remorse that might be associated with more ‘serious’ crimes.
“However, they remain very much illegal and those who are caught could face severe penalties, including prosecution, a fine, a custodial sentence and a criminal record.”
The full Stephensons Crime Report 2017 can be found online at www.stephensons.co.uk.