THIS group of Aussies are three times more likely to be arrested than anyone else. And it might surprise you who they are. By their late teens, Australians are at their most dangerous with the highest rates of offending in several categories, according to figures from the Australian Institute of Criminology AIC. In , the offending rate for people aged 15 to 19 was three times that of all other offenders, per , compared with 4, per , for those aged 20 to The AIC said while the figure had slightly declined in recent years, the highest number of offenders over the past four years had been in the 15 to 19 year-old group.
Of those arrested, 86 were for violent crimes including blackmail, snatch thefts and being a part of gangs and drug distribution syndicates. On top of other serious offences committed by some youths, this is a cause for concern. In January, a policeman in George Town was attacked by about 30 people aged 18 to 19 when he tried to prevent two men from being beaten up outside an entertainment outlet. Earlier this week, the police in Malacca announced they were hunting for a gang of seven school dropouts aged 15 to 18 whom they said had committed 80 snatch thefts in the last few months. On Sunday, an year-old boy from Miri was arrested for allegedly stabbing his mother to death in the neck after quarrelling over a handphone. Last year, aged between 13 and 18 were caught abusing drugs, according to the National Anti-Drugs Agency. Some were even involved in murder and rape cases.
Given recent media coverage this may come as a surprise. Characteristics of young people who offend commonly include a combination of poverty, disadvantage, involvement with Child Protection, poor school attendance, poor mental health and disability; the over-representation of Aboriginal Australians is also noted. It is clear that these factors, along with the age at which children first come into the justice system, intersect with one another to increase the risk of offending. In her piece, Ms Edwards made a plea for young offenders to be seen as different from adults.
A ground-breaking British study finds that 4 per cent are responsible for nearly half of youth crime. The research could have profound implications for police and policy-makers. A tiny, hard core of amoral teenagers is responsible for the majority of juvenile crimes, according to a ground-breaking study from the University of Cambridge. A delinquent minority will commit an average of 86 crimes each by the age of 16, with less than 4 per cent responsible for nearly half of all youth crime.