Crime figures paint grim picture
WITH youth crime in the political spotlight, the latest figures show Rockhampton's situation was even worse in the 2010/11 financial year than the 12 months before when the region had the state's highest ratio of children in court.
Figures from the Magistrates Court of Queensland Annual Report 2010-2011 showed 598 juveniles faced 1393 charges, equating to 10.62% of all people who appeared before a magistrate in Rockhampton.
The year before the ratio was 9.24%, when 527 youths appeared on 1197 charges (see accompanying fact box for figures for the ratio of other regions).
Since these figures were compiled the Queensland Government has introduced a tough new program targeting juvenile crime in Rockhampton, which appears to be having an impact.
And earlier this week the LNP announced it would trial a Youth Boot Camp Diversion Program for young offenders at risk of descending into more serious criminal behaviour.
It's a move that has been welcomed by Finch's Mitre 10 manager Geoff Gohdes, whose store has been broken into more than 20 times in the past 12 months with almost $100,000 worth of damage.
"I think there should be some form of punishment and they're not getting any at the moment," Mr Gohdes said.
He said they should be made to work and earn money to pay back their victims.
A boot camp would help teach them discipline and responsibility, he said.
Percentage of child defendants appearing in court:
- Rocky 10.62%
- Cairns 8.86%
- Brisbane 4.71%
- Bundaberg 7.58%
- Gladstone 7.77%
Source: Magistrates Court of Queensland Annual Report 2010-2011.