Big rise in teen violent crime

The Dominion Post 7 August 2007
There has been a sharp increase in teens committing violent crime. For the first time the Justice Ministry has compiled a report solely focusing on youth crime, which reveals a 39 per cent increase in violent crime, but that less than one-third of those aged 14 to 16 are prosecuted for breaking the law.The study, which will now be completed yearly, comes as NZ First MP Ron Mark has proposed a law change that would lower the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 12. It collated youth offending figures from 1995 to 2006.* Violent offences had increased from 2690 in 1995 to 3743 in 2006. (39 per cent) * Last year the number of youth arrests for violent offences was up 9 per cent from 2005, spurred by a leap in both serious and minor assaults. * In 2006 one in every seven people arrested was aged 14 to 16.* Police arrested 30,451 youths last year. However, only 29 per cent were prosecuted. * Four in 10 cases were referred to the police Youth Aid section, while 23 per cent of the suspects received a formal warning. * Child, Youth and Family dealt with 6 per cent of cases* Grievous-serious assaults were up from 1324 to 1512 between 2005 and 2006. * In 2006, 30,451 of 203,484 arrests were of people aged 14 to 16.