Calls for curfew after Australian youth crime spree

Australian police
Australian police (AAP)

Residents in the Australian city of Townsville are sick of living in fear of youth crime and are pleading for a curfew for under 16s.

More than 7000 residents have signed petitions calling for a night-time street curfew following a juvenile crime spree, but the Attorney-General doesn't think it'll work.

The petition calls for drastic action to deal with "continual issue of juveniles out on the streets of Townsville causing havoc and committing crimes against the residents, ranging from, but not excluded to assault, break and enter, and vehicle theft".

One percent of the youth population in Townsville was charged with an offence between April 2015 and March 2016, and half of all offending in the region was due to 40 individuals.

The curfew would prevent those 16 and under from going outdoors between 11pm and 5am - unless they were accompanied by an adult or had a valid reason.

Exemptions would be provided for children going to work, or "granted permission to attend movies, friend's place etc [sic]".

However, acting Attorney-General Dr Anthony Lynham has knocked back the plan.

"Youth curfews have been common in the United States since the early 1990s," he said in a written response to the petition.

"A recent systematic review of research on the effectiveness of those curfews did not show they were effective in reducing crime and victimisation."