Police get tough in effort to curb youth crime

Raglan police will use their power to detain youth wandering the streets after 10pm in an attempt to curb a spike in juvenile crime – and, as a further crime prevention measure, police will endeavour to get the fingerprints and DNA of all youth offenders.

Constable Gary Ryburn said under the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 police had the power to detain young people who were out at night unaccompanied by a parent or a suitable caregiver, and “we will be doing that”.

He said there had been an increase in the number of cars being broken into in Raglan at night – about six vehicles in about two weeks, but “I understand there are several not reported to police”.

“Three cars in  … 10 days have been stolen and taken for joy rides.

“I’m seeing youth still hanging around (the streets) at 2am on weekends. Car offences have been taking place between approximately 10pm and 1am on weeknights.”

Mr Ryburn said police were currently dealing with two boys, aged 15 and 16, who were involved in the theft of a car outside the Blind Tiger at 11.11pm on Wednesday last week. They would face charges before the Youth Court.

Four youths were seen on CCTV camera trying unsuccessfully to get into a Subaru station wagon in Wainui Rd five minutes before the two hopped into the car – which was unlocked – and drove off.

The driver crashed the car near the rugby grounds and the vehicle was abandoned in Upper Cross St.

Mr Ryburn said Raglan Area School staff helped identify the four youths and brought the two offenders down to the police station on Thursday at 2pm.

“One mother so far has given permission for her 15-year-old son to provide DNA and fingerprints to police.

“As police we are endeavouring to get young offenders fingerprinted with the consent of their parents, get them in the system. For more serious offences that carry a term of imprisonment we will endeavour to get their DNA.

“Our aim is to curb their behaviour so they don’t go down a road of crime.”

He said having fingerprints and DNA in the database would also “ping up” any historical offences.

Police are currently getting two cars fingerprinted. “Both have very visible, smallish-type fingerprints. We got some good fingerprints.”

He urged residents to report all vehicle break-ins to the police because they might be able to get fingerprints.

“It will only be a matter of time and then we will get a hit.”

Mr Ryburn said he believed youth were acting out because of boredom, “but parents need to take onus on themselves to make sure they are at home, not running the streets”.

“We need parents on board, those who have teenage children, ensuring they are home at night at a reasonable hour, or know where their teenagers are.”

He said youth picked up in the streets after 10pm would be returned home and their parents spoken to.

If youth refused to give their home address then they would be taken to Hamilton Central Police Station and dealt with by CYFs.

“I’m sure their parents will get sick of that really quickly, going to Hamilton at 1am on a Saturday morning.”

Mr Ryburn said it was mainly boys who were hanging out in the streets at night but he had also had a word to two 14-year-old girls who were hanging out with about eight “juvie boys”.

“As police we want to be proactive, protect and serve our community, but we also need assistance from our community.

“We strongly urge local residents to do the basics: lock their car at night, lock their shed and their dwellings, be vigilant, report any suspicious behaviour. If you see anyone hanging around a car, taking too much notice of a vehicle, maybe biking past slowly and looking in at the ignition and the drivers seat … they will go back to the vehicle later.”        

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