Dr Alan Keen
Dr Alan Keen

Educate gang leaders: academic

AUTHORITIES should focus their attention on elder members of Rockhampton’s teenage gangs in order to curb the rise in violence.

This is the suggestion from CQ University’s senior psychology lecturer, Dr Alan Keen.

“They should be trying to talk to them, educate them; go to the source of the problem to fix it before it escalates further,” Dr Keen explained.

“Teenagers are susceptible to peer-pressure and copying behaviour; younger members of a group typically copy the behaviour of older members.”

“The culture of the gang is important; if there is a culture of violence within the older members, the younger members will follow blindly.”

His comments come in the wake of the unprovoked gang bashing of a 15-year-old Rockhampton girl at Stockland last week.

It is alleged that the offending group of youths were aged between 10 and 17 years.

Dr Keen was not surprised.

“Studies show that rates of defiant behaviour such as bullying, aggression, violence, animal torture, arson, absenteeism and expulsion in kids, even below the age of 10, are prevalent.”

“What is most important is to have a higher presence of police and security guards in the areas frequented by these kids,” he said.

Stockland Rockhampton yesterday said it had installed CCTV cameras and 24-hour security on site. However, at least one concerned tenant has said it’s not enough.

In a statement released yesterday, Stockland Rockhampton said it was at present reviewing all security procedures to provide the best possible security to staff and shoppers.

“We are constantly dealing with our security contractor and police to ensure the safety of our customers and retailers,” said centre manager Brett Leonard.

One point that is agreed upon, however, is that parents need to take responsibility of their children.

“Parents are using the centre as a child-minding facility; they need to be held accountable,” long-time Stockland tenant Jack Kennedy said this week.

Dr Keen noted family interaction as a significant factor.

“Although it is important for parents to encourage social behaviour, they need to understand that it is also important that they spend a considerably longer time with their kids than their kids spend with other children,” Dr Keen said.

“Parents should make sure that there is time spent at home together; doing homework, talking, watching TV, reading books- spending time together as a family.”

What is most important is to have a higher presence of police and security guards in the areas frequented by these kids



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