Youth crime escalating with social media

Youth crime escalating with social media

Over the past 12 months there were more than 5000 offences committed by 10- to 14-year-olds. Fifteen- to 19-year-olds committed almost 20,000.

These are big numbers of crimes committed by kids, but there are ways to stop this and ways to fix it.

"We're talking about ram raids of commercial premises, vehicles being stolen, driven on the wrong side of motorways, aggravated assaults," says Inspector Bruce O'Brien.

"These are young people – 13 to 14 years old. In the Auckland region it's a small percentage of young people committing large amount of crime."

Social media now provides an easy way of organising crime and fights – allowing offences to escalate.

"It's nothing new," says Insp O'Brien. "It's been happening for a while but we have seen that trend change with social media, in fact they are planning other offences."

After five raids over one weekend, Counties-Manukau police arrested 10 youths aged between 16 and 18. Too often crimes can escalate, resulting in tragedy – a potentially deadly combination of poor choices, peer pressure and parental indifference.

"Unfortunately there is that small percentage of parents that don't want to engage with police, don't want to engage with our partner agencies, and their young people are left to their own devices and will get themselves in further trouble," says Insp O'Brien.

The answer for these kids is simple.

"Basically giving them something to do, give them a bit of hope – something to strive towards – and a job," says Constable Andrew Warne.

"There are speed bumps in every road. You can't be expected to change overnight. There are still a few issues that need working out, but we're on the right path."

Watch the video for the full Story report.