The Chronicle

Youth crime


LIKE many others in the region, we’ve taken to hiding our car keys inside the house. This is due to the break-ins by youths looking to steal cars.

Once upon a time thieves used to hot-wire older model cars, but when newer vehicles had antitheft devices installed, this was made much more difficult for them. The answer then is to break in and steal the keys. Easypeasy.

We also have security doors and windows, and leave them locked during the day. When we are in the garden out the back, the front of the house is always locked tight. When I’m alone in the house at night, I don’t even put the garbage out.

This is surely the reason so many people have dogs. Dogs will bark at intruders. Unfortunat­ely they will also bark at kangaroos, stray cats, rabbits, hares, bandicoots and their own shadows. This amounts to pretty well non-stop barking. (Which is ignored.)

Now we see that young offenders will attack a lone and vulnerable victim in broad daylight and in the open, to steal car keys and wallet.

Most of these crimes are senseless. It is being committed for the thrill, to prove themselves to their mates, most likely. They know they will not be jailed as they are considered too young. They may not know much, but I’m sure they know the law. Tragedy often follows. Their partners in crime and innocent bystanders are carelessly cut down to join the road trauma statistics.

What we don’t often hear about is the ongoing suffering endured by those who have been carjacked, attacked or had their homes invaded. What price do you put on the wellbeing and happiness of some really nice people?

If life hasn’t been fair to these young offenders, spare a thought for the young mother who was carjacked while watching her son at footy training one night. Will she ever be able to sit in a parked car again without fear?

What about the people who owned a nice car and were followed home so the young thugs could see where they live? And I can’t imagine how the lady who was recently attacked must be feeling.

What is the answer? No one seems to be able to stop the behaviour. I’m sure the police do what they can, but the juvenile justice system appears to be badly broken. What are the parents doing about it? Not much, it seems.

KATHY ADAMS, Toowoomba

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