Spike in youth robberies ends decade-long downturn

New figures reveal a spike in the number of youth robberies.

The number of 10- to 16-year-olds appearing in court for robbery is the highest in almost a decade and an increase of 56 percent over last year.

"I'm not surprised, because most of the incidents, when you watch the CCTV footage or talk to the owners, these are those young teenagers, these kids," Crime Prevention Group's Sunny Kaushal told Newshub.

In the year to June, 267 10- to 16-year-olds were charged with robbery, up from 171 the year before. That's the highest number since 2008, ending an almost decade long downward trend.

Mr Kaushal wants the courts to send a strong message to young offenders.

"Harsher penalties for those caught robbing dairies and shops, and then the parents need to be held accountable," he said.

But youth justice group JustSpeak says that's not the answer.

"We cannot go on punishing young people," director Tania Sawicki Mead told Newshub.

"What you need to do is address the kinds of causes behind these behaviours in the first place."

She says that's what's helped an overall drop in youth crime - down 40 percent in five years.

"There's more opportunities for rehabilitation, for supervision, for drug and alcohol counselling."

She insists there are alternative ways to prevent scenes like those constantly being captured on CCTV and help keep young people out of court.