Cap Coast community steps up to help fight juvenile crime
ENCOURAGING a collaborative effort to reduce juvenile crime across the region, Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga and police are calling on the community to join them to make a difference.
Following the Community Safety Forum held in Yeppoon recently, MP Lauga said she has been engaging with stakeholders including Yeppoon's most senior police officer, Senior Sergeant Officer-in-Charge Erin Shawcross, youth justice officers, community members and business owners to co-ordinate an all-of-community approach to crime.
"Senior Sgt Shawcross told me that solutions needed to involve volunteers to take on a wide range of roles, including talking to those who have been broken into," Ms Lauga said.
"I have also been liaising with Crime Prevention who told the forum the community cannot arrest your way to an anti-crime solution."
She said Sergeant Ashley Hull from the Community Policing Board told her many of the problems relate to when criminals, and specifically juvenile criminals, were released.
"When they are released they still have the same issues and problems," she said.
"The key is in where and how to provide support to them and their families and supporters."
Rossco's Pizza and Cedar Park Supermarket owner and operator Ross Lane appreciates the actions of service providers to try to keep juveniles out of the system with preventative services but believes reoffenders need to be held accountable for their actions.
"I have been the recipient of juvenile crime on the Coast.
"My businesses have been broken into, things have been stolen, damage to property has occurred and I have had two cars stolen," Mr Lane said.
"The very evening the Safety Forum was held I arrived home to discover juveniles were once again in my business causing issues.
"Just last weekend the same group of youth threatened one of my staff.
"That child was only about 11 years old and when asked to leave the premises told my staff member 'we will kill you, we will come back and break into your shop'."
Mr Lane said the juveniles in question were becoming more brazen and seemed to have no fear of the legal repercussions of their actions.
"Everyone agrees something needs to happen but there simply isn't a black and white solution.
"We need the courts to take this more seriously. These youth who are reoffending and being put straight back on the streets need to be taken off the streets and work done with them, they need to be removed from the environment that allows them to continue to offend,” he said.
"There needs to be accountability for their actions.
"If these children come out of juvenile detention services and reoffend, they need to be sent right back there and that needs to continue to happen until they actually get the message that this behaviour is not tolerated."
At the safety forum, Senior Sgt Hull said, "Local solutions equalled local people", including a pool of mentors to work with parents and juveniles.
He said the problem starts at home and the question was what can we do for those families before the offending escalates.
Ms Lauga said she was working on the forum's key points with the Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer, Police Minister Mark Ryan and the Communities Minister Coralee O'Rourke for action on the Capricorn Coast.