The Hobart

Is Youth Crime in Hobart on the Rise?

by Stephanie Williams
Is Youth Crime in Hobart on the Rise?

If you’ve read media reports lately, there seems to be a rise in youth crime, particularly youth knife crime, in Hobart right now. We spoke to David Higgins, CEO of Crimestoppers for his take on the current situation.

From what you are seeing via Crimestoppers, is there an increase? We don’t see what Tasmania Police see, we’re a notfor- profit, so I’m ultimately seeing the same as what the community would see. Clearly in the last three weeks, yes. We’ve seen some significant matters come to rise. Government agencies and local councils, particularly in Hobart, are experiencing some delinquencies like youths who are causing public disturbance. Crimestoppers did a Shop Safe campaign with Hobart City Council just before Christmas, to try and raise the awareness and keep retailers safer in their workplace. And sad to say it is, at times, youths who are creating those disturbances, threats of violence, shoplifting, and violence.

What do you think is going on? Certainly the concentration increases when school concludes. End of year tends to be a bit of a hotspot and then warmer months get youths out onto the streets. You’ll probably see in winter it drops because it’s freezing, it tends to keep them in their houses. These things become generational issues that are specific to family matters. Clusters of families who are maybe not able to manage their children as well as we would like. All of a sudden you see an increase in frequency and concentration within a particular area. These things are not just unique to Hobart, they’re experienced throughout cities all around the world and all throughout Tasmania, but sometimes the concentration is far less. I used to be a police officer 20 years ago, and there were periods when I was patrolling the streets in Launceston that the youths became a bigger problem and then they disappeared again.

What can the community do? If they see a disturbance or some form of public disorder that’s occurring then and there, they should call the police. If it’s a serious matter like an assault, call triple zero.

Like if you see a knife or something similar? Absolutely. First thing, you ring triple zero immediately and speak to the operator the whole time giving them information because they’ll communicate that with police real time and the police officers will definitely prioritize and they’ll be making a beeline for such a matter, wherever they are. If it’s a matter that is more about information, they can call Tasmania Police via their 131 444. If they have information with regards to say a group of shoplifters that are storing property…

Or trying to sell stuff on Facebook Marketplace? Yes! Contact Tasmania Police or you can go to Crimestoppers online or you can report it by the 1800 333 000 number. That’s recorded and sent to Tasmania Police as well.

If you have a kid of your own who is causing trouble, or you suspect is causing trouble, where can parents go to for help? Oh, that is a challenge, isn’t it? In the past Crimestoppers had really strong engagement back in the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s with the PCYCs. They are a fantastic space for youths that are struggling to be able to be part of something and governmental supported.Their CEO, Scott Wade, is bringing that back in, trying to really amplify it back into that space. Find kids an activity that takes them off the street. Sadly sometimes there’s those kids out there that are just not ever going to do anything like that. We’re stuck with them falling into the youth justice system. You’ve seen the way that governments grapple with that issue. Is it the parents’ responsibility? What level of responsibility do parents have? When do they pull the lever to say their kids are just delinquents? Do they care? Or are they part of it?

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May 2024

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