'2000% up': Shocking reality of region's youth crime issue
CAPRICORNIA'S youth crime issue is a problem but up until now, residents have never really known how bad it has become.
After putting in a request with Queensland Police for a detailed break down of youth crime statistics, The Morning Bulletin can exclusively reveal what the region's young law breakers have been doing over the past decade to cross the thin blue line.
QPS provided a table showing the number of times offenders between the age 10 and 17 were charged with list of offences in the first six months of 2010, 2015 and 2020.
The majority of the law breaking can be divided into offences against the person (homicide, assault, sexual offences, robbery, other) and offences against property (unlawful entry, arson, other, unlawful uses of motor vehicle, fraud, handling stolen goods).
Looking at offences against the person, Capricornia's total was 266 in 2010, dropping to 86 in 2015 and rising to 151 in 2020 - a 76 per cent rise in five years.
Headlining those offences was the number of robberies which has gone through the roof.
There was just one recorded in the first six months of 2010 compared to 21 in 2020 - a 2000 per cent increase over the decade.
Assaults dipped from a 2010 total of 89 to 59 in 2015 but it was back up with 97 in 2020 - a 64 per cent increase in the past five years.
For the offences against property, Capricornia had a total of 928 in 2010, which dropped to 578 in 2015 before jumping 63 per cent to 945.
Grabbing the headlines for these offences was the rise in Unlawful Use of Motor Vehicles.
In 2010, 82 juveniles were charged with Unlawful Use of Motor Vehicles with police getting that number down to 35 in 2015.
But in the past five years, there has been a stratospheric 360 per cent increase in offending with 161 offences recorded in the first half of 2020.
Something good was happening in 2015 because Unlawful Entries dipped from the 2010 level of 266 to 120 but in the past five years it has shot back up by 157 per cent to 308 in 2020.
Another notable crime statistic was the number of drug offences which has risen by 118 per cent over the past decade from 82 in 2010 to 179 in 2020; but in the past five years it has remained unchanged.
There are positives to take home from the statistics, with some crimes lower in 2020 compared to a decade ago including handling stolen goods, liquor offences, trespassing, good order offences, traffic and related offences.
It is worth noting these statistics were impacted by the February 2018 change in the classification age of juvenile offenders from the age of 16 to 17 - creating an increase in the 2020 results.
These figures do not represent a unique offender count and a person charged with multiple offences would be counted multiple times in any demographic breakdown.
The impact of COVID-19 in 2020 also needs to be recognised with fewer people out and about during the periods of restrictions.
As the region builds towards October's State Election campaign, youth crime promises to dominate debate between aspiring candidates.
There are no magical quick fixes to address the complex issues driving the bad behaviour of law-breaking youth, but over the past few weeks, we've heard from the LNP, One Nation and Labor, that have advocated differing approaches and solutions.
Tomorrow The Morning Bulletin will continue its youth crime analysis with an in-depth conversation about the statistics with Detective Acting Inspector for Capricornia District Luke Peachey.