Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Youth crime is a real problem

The Daily Telegraph reports that just ten children in Edinburgh are responsible for about 800 crimes across the city.
The tearaways make up a list of the worst young offenders in the capital, with three notching up 100 or more charges, including housebreaking, joyriding and robbery.

One 15-year-old boy from the east of the city has committed 117 offences in two years to become the most prolific under-16 criminal, while an 11-year-old boy from north Edinburgh is also among the ten worst, with a criminal record which includes sexual assault, assault and robbery, and car theft. 
[One] officer, who spoke anonymously, added: "It's terrible to say but some of them may be beyond help, even when they are 14 or 15. For many officers, the same names come up time and again from a young age.

"These kids know that the law basically can't do much until they reach the adult courts. Until that time you're trying to limit the damage. Some might turn it around but others are already on their way to a life of crime."
This grim reality highlights the dangers of regular calls for underage criminals to be treated more gently, and for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised. Last month, for example, the Howard League for Penal Reform released a report attacking police for the number of under-18s they arrested - as if the number of crimes underage thugs commit is beside the point. The consequence of going easy on youth offending is hundreds more crimes and many more victims of all ages.