Rocky youth crime blitz working; Byrne

MORE than half the 17 Rockhampton youngsters that caused so many crime problems in the city are now in jobs or studying, Bill Byrne says.

The Labor candidate for Rockhampton yesterday pointed to the early success of the Rockhampton Youth Offender Blitz as evidence of the Bligh government's commitment to addressing the city's youth crime problems.

While official data for juvenile crime rates is not yet available, anecdotal evidence suggests the rate has dropped.

Tackling Rockhampton's youth crime problem has been one of the biggest issues reported in The Bulletin during the past year.

The new approach, which was heavily driven by Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten, was borne out of the ongoing frustrations the city's business community experienced as young offenders continued to run amok.

The program, which is only a few months old, has been expanded to 14 locations across Queensland.

Mr Byrne said the program highlighted the work being done locally to get young offenders back on track.

"This strategy includes ensuring young people are in learning or are working; not offending; intensive case planning and follow through; one-on-one support and mentoring; and getting parents involved and taking more responsibility."

Mr Byrne said about 200 youths, aged between 10 and 16, were responsible for more than one quarter of all juvenile offences in Queensland.

"The Youth Offender Blitz is about doing the one-on-one hard work with repeat offenders to make sure they get the support they need," Mr Byrne said.

"The results of this program have been encouraging and this progress is a step in the right direction."

He said if elected he would create an independent Rockhampton citizen board to review and provide direction to not-for-profit and government initiatives and report back to the community.

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