Law enforcement ‘impressed’ by youth crime rates
WARWICK’S youth crime rates have stayed consistently low despite the protracted coronavirus restrictions, impressing the community’s police and mental health services alike.
Warwick Police Station acting officer in charge Shane Reid said there had been no real increase or spike in juvenile criminal rates.
“Obviously everyone’s lifestyles had to change somewhat during the COVID period, but overall our patrols, enforcement, and investigation in relation to crime has continued at the same levels,” Sgt Reid.
“On occasions we’ve had single offenders who have been dealt with for criminal matters, but they were isolated and mostly opportunistic offences.”
However, Sgt Reid cautioned all potential youth offenders that being “bored” was no excuse to turn to crime.
“There’s plenty of opportunities in the Warwick division and the local area for youths to engage in recreational activities, such as sporting and even volunteering for different organisations,” he said.
“Boredom’s never an excuse. Everyone could do that, but they don’t because the law says it’s the wrong thing to do, and people should choose to occupy their time in a positive manner.
“The other thing that gets forgotten a lot these days is that parents need to not only know where their kids are, but also be encouraging them to get into these activities.”
Headspace Warwick manager Travis Maguire agreed, saying their facility had been equally impressed by the behaviour of the youth within the community during the isolation period.
“I think we’ve probably seen less police referrals in the last three months or so,” Mr Maguire said.
“(That time) also gave young people the chance to reset. Maybe there were some behaviours that weren’t positive, but it gave them that time to reset and think of trying activities from their counsellor that they hadn’t before.
“There’s always going to be some sort of concerns, but if our statistics of engagement are anything to go by, it is positive and shows that young people are comfortable and engaging with mental health services.”