Curbing youth crime on the Coffs Coast

A PROGRAM designed to reduce youth crime has launched on the Coffs Coast.

According to Bureau of Crime Statistics, instances of juvenile offending in the Coffs Harbour region outrank the NSW average in many areas including assault, drug offences and theft.

They're statistics NSW Police and Juvenile Justice hope to curtail through the Youth on Track program - an early intervention scheme for 10-17 year-olds.

The voluntary program focuses on young people at risk of long-term involvement in the criminal justice system, and is designed to address their needs.

NSW Police assistant commissioner Jeff Loy said the program would provide police with an important avenue to help young people heading down the wrong path.

"Our officers work at the coalface of crime, and can often predict when young people are at risk of becoming entrenched in the criminal justice system," he said.

"Youth on Track allows us to refer these young people to case management, which addresses the risks associated with their offending and can also engage the young person's family to ensure an effective support network."

Youth on Track has been running in areas of Sydney and the Central Coast since 2013 and about 90% of participants have either stabilised or reduced their contact with the juvenile justice system.

Around 310 young offenders are expected to participate in the program this year.

"My hope is that we'll continue to see a drop in the number of young people coming under the notice of police," Mr Loy said.

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