• August 5th, 2020

Dispatched Thoughts: Report on preventing youth crime

In the last half of the year, there has been a decline in crimes being reported, especially in urban areas. This is in part thanks to the recently held strong and controversial police initiative of Operation Kalahari amongst other things.

I found it however worrisome that most of the people arrested and crimes uncovered were committed by the youth. While it’s good to clean up the streets, maybe we should try to look at how we can prevent youth from committing crimes in the first place.

The report found the number of offenders in the youth justice system is decreasing, but more needs to be done to understand youth offending.

With our prisons focused on rehabilitation and reintegration, the system has an innovative youth justice system that works well to address offenders by people aged 14 to 17.

However, if we want to be serious about getting to the root causes of youth crime, it shows we need to tackle those issues when they’re children, not when they turn up in the youth justice system at 14. Too often the Court is playing “catch up”, dealing with long-standing issues that could have been addressed many years before.

A key issue the report highlights is that the causes of youth crime are intergenerational and linked to problems within families and communities.

It’s no secret that a young child is easily influenced by its environment when growing up. When research has shown that 80 per cent of child and young offenders grow up in homes where family violence is present, breaking this cycle of violence from one generation to another is critical.

To address these issues and the well-documented behaviours we see in young people and young adults, we must target every point in the timeline. We need to be proactive, responsive and adopt long-term strategies it would greatly help these young children make better and sensible decisions in life in their futures.

Something like regular visits to check on the health of toddlers, programmes to help parents and address the mental health of mothers and guidance’s, supporting early childhood centres like daycare centres and kindergartens and schools, these are just some of the options we could look at for addressing the issues that lead to youth offending.

Young people do not grow up in a vacuum. Communities play an important role in providing the structure within which young lives can be reclaimed. Change does not just happen by what we do, but by what we do alongside others.

New Era Reporter
2019-11-13 14:56:31 | 8 months ago

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