Get smart with young crim­i­nals

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY rachel.ri­

A TOWNSVILLE vic­tim of crime says time in cus­tody for some of the city’s re­peat of­fend­ers is one of the only ways res­i­dents get a re­prieve from crime.

The com­ments come as Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ian Ste­wart said ar­rest­ing more crim­i­nals would not make Aus­tralia great.

Com­mis­sioner Ste­wart said po­lice would seek to ex­pand crime- preven­tion pro­grams aimed at keep­ing young peo­ple out of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.

“While we’re happy to play our part and do our job, ar­rest­ing more peo­ple and putting more peo­ple in jail is not the an­swer to mak­ing Aus­tralia a great na­tion,” he said. “As a com­mu­nity we have to look at smarter ways of deal­ing with peo­ple who make mi­nor er­rors and can be per­haps di­verted from the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem.”

Ras­mussen grand­fa­ther Ron Dun­das, whose wife Prim was the vic­tim of a vi­o­lent car­jack­ing in Jan­uary, said he was pleased there seemed to be a re­prieve from soar­ing prop­erty and ve­hi­cle crime in Townsville. But he was wor­ried it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore an­other wave of of­fend­ing swept the city.

“Th­ese crim­i­nals know they’ve got every­one un­der their thumb,” he said.

“They don’t care about us so we should keep stick­ing them in jail.”

Mr Dun­das said while he backed po­lice us­ing cus­tody as a key de­ter­rent, he also sup­ported more ed­u­ca­tion and early in­ter­ven­tion meth­ods.

Townsville MP Scott Ste­wart said there would al­ways been a need for pris­ons for those of­fend­ers who have no de­sire to turn their lives around.

“There are those who’ll con­tinue to taunt and break the law, and yes, for them, jail is the only an­swer but we also need struc­tures and pro­cesses in place to re­duce crime.”

Mr Ste­wart said through the Townsville Stronger Com­mu­ni­ties ini­tia­tive, the State Gov­ern­ment was try­ing to fo­cus on iden­ti­fy­ing the root causes of crime to stop the cy­cle of of­fend­ing.

“We are do­ing a lot of work with fam­i­lies be­cause we need par­ents tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own kids,” he said. “There is a lot of re­search that shows early in­ter­ven­tion is they key to break­ing the cy­cle.”

SMARTER WAYS: Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ian Ste­wart.

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