Jump in ju­ve­nile crime

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Ju­ve­nile crime has spiked in Kar­ratha dur­ing the hol­i­days with po­lice ar­rest­ing 16 ju­ve­niles on a com­bined 39 charges in the past two weeks.

Kar­ratha ex­pe­ri­enced 30 bur­glar­ies be­tween Christ­mas and early Jan­uary, dou­ble the usual num­ber for this time of year, and about six more in the past week.

Se­nior Sergeant Paul Brown said po­lice be­lieved most of the re­cent bur­glar­ies had been com­mit­ted by ju­ve­niles, a mix of lo­cals and out-of-town­ers.

Po­lice have ar­rested 16 boys aged 12 to 18 on bur­glary, tres­pass­ing and steal­ing charges over a num­ber of the in­ci­dents.

Sen. Sgt Brown be­lieved other chil­dren as young as nine years old were also in­volved but were too young to be charged.

He said prop­erty of­fences usu­ally in­creased in the school hol­i­days but not so sharply, and cited a lack of parental su­per­vi­sion as one of the main is­sues.

“They just to need to know where their kids are at night­time,” he said.

City of Kar­ratha Mayor Peter Long said the city of­fered ac­tiv­i­ties for both pri­mary and sec­ondary school chil­dren at the Youth Shed and Leisure­plex in Kar­ratha, and The Base in Wick­ham in the hol­i­days.

“While ju­ve­nile crime is a po­lice mat­ter, the city un­der­stands the im­por­tant role youth ac­tiv­i­ties have in en­gag­ing young peo­ple and giv­ing them some­thing to do,” he said.

He said the city had ex­panded its youth en­gage­ment ac­tiv­ity pro­gram last year in re­sponse to com­mu­nity feed­back.

Roe­bourne po­lice of­fi­cer-in­charge Se­nior Sergeant Gemma Hen­ni­gan said nearby Roe­bourne and Wick­ham had avoided a hol­i­day spike in bur­glar­ies but noted it was largely a mat­ter of luck and “the kids could have been here do­ing that as eas­ily as in Kar­ratha”.

She said they had tried to pre­vent ju­ve­nile of­fences with a tar­geted school hol­i­day op­er­a­tion in­volv­ing a high po­lice pres­ence at night-time, cur­few checks and pa­trolling fre­quently tar­geted lo­ca­tions.

Sen. Sgt Brown said iden­ti­fy­ing and find­ing the al­leged of­fend­ers had been re­source in­ten­sive for of­fi­cers but they were pleased to have such quick re­sults.

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