Booze to blame for youth violent crime – judge

Stuff.co.nz 27 June 2012
While youth crime overall is steadily declining, serious violent offending has increased and the principal youth court judge says alcohol is to blame. Statistics released yesterday show that 3582 offences were recorded in the Youth Court last year compared to 3939 in 2010. However, the statistics were only “part of the picture,” principal youth court judge Andrew Becroft said. The number of youths apprehended by police has steadily declined in the past five years, whereas apprehension rates for those aged over 17 had generally increased.

However, what was hidden within the statistics was an increase in offences intended to cause injury and sexual assaults. “Alcohol availability is certainly a big factor in [violent] offending,” Becroft said. “If you took alcohol out of the youth court you’d take 80 per cent of violent offences out of the youth court.” Beer and cannabis appeared to be the most common drugs used by young offenders in New Zealand, Becroft told an international drug symposium in 2009. He hoped the Alcohol Reform Bill, which is yet to be passed in parliament, would go someway towards curbing the pattern.

TOTAL APPREHENSIONS BY AGE: 

    0 – 9-year-olds

    1994 – 1596

2010 – 872

2011 – 678

10 – 13-year-olds

1994 – 11,881

2010- 8083

2011 – 7558

14 – 16-year-olds

1994 – 28,679

2010 – 29,026

2011 – 25,928
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/7179177/Booze-to-blame-for-youth-violent-crime-judge