More than three decades of war in Angola have created a generation of disaffected children, poorly educated and living in crime-infested urban neighbourhoods where violence appears to have become the norm. This article is based on a self-report study of 30 juvenile offenders housed at the Observation Centre in Luanda. The article examines the children’s views on what accounts for their delinquency. What emerges from their narratives is the central importance of the neighbourhoods in which they live. In these neighbourhoods, the children have developed delinquent relationships and encountered experiences of serious violence. Most of the children attributed their offending to the economic and social problems created by the war. The study agrees with Wessells and Monteiro’s (2006) position that, in order to address this problem, a proactive approach is required in Angola that supports youth, prevents violence and enables sustainable neighbourhood development.