Tougher laws not the solution to youth crime in Logan: Expert
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YOUTH JUSTICE: There have been 16 teenagers charged with a string of offences in the Logan Police District since June 21.

By Jacob Wilson, Jimboomba Times | August 9 2019 – 6:30PM

A LEADING criminal justice expert has warned tougher laws are not the solution to stem the flow of repeat youth offending in areas like Logan.

This comes following a string of incidents in the Logan Police District which has led to at least 16 teenagers being charged with 86 offences since June 21.

Most recently, police charged a 15-year-old Yarrabilba boy and 14-year-old Logan Central male teen after the theft of a Toyota Hiace ute on July 30 and three robberies on July 31.

Ross Homel, Griffith University’s foundation professor of criminology and criminal justice, said a large number of chronic youth offenders suffered from family neglect and abuse.

“The kids who are breaking into houses, stealing cars, robbing motels or shops…we have to do something about them. They need to be apprehended,” he said.

“The question is what do you do? If we just lock them up, they are eventually released and learn new tricks in jail. You can get tough on crime but would need to live with the consequences of less safe communities.”

Professor Homel said an evidence-based approach with a focus on early intervention and prevention was more likely to achieve positive outcomes.

Last month, Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer announced $1.26 million in state government funding to support a partnership between ATSICHS and YFS to support young people at risk of re-offending in Logan.

Youth crime has hit suburbs including Browns Plains, Munruben, Woodridge, Slacks Creek, Logan Central, Regents Park and Heritage Park.

Youth Minister Di Farmer said education and training was key to breaking the cycle of crime for young people.

“These initiatives will take time to show results but we are on the path to making a real difference for our young people,” Ms Farmer said.

Crestmead Neighbourhood Watch area coordinator Geoff Smith said it was vital for residents to adopt basic security measures.

“The issue is that there are little to no consequences for their theft and the joyriding,” he said.

“I’d like people to be aware that they have a responsibility as well to keep their car keys locked away.”

Mr Smith said he would like to see a win-win approach to rehabilitating youth offenders.

“Incarceration affects them for the rest of their lives, both mentally and for their job prospects. It becomes a vicious circle,” he said.

“There should be worthwhile punishments that fit the crime…they could do community service in hospitals or help aged care centres.”