Saturday, January 19, 2008

British Youth Crime

The London Telegraph has a series of stories about crime in Merry Ole England. Starting with Violent youth crime up a third. Now that may be a bit of an overstatement, since what is up by 37 percent is arrests and "cautions." Crime is probably up, up increased enforcement can account for some of that increase. (That is the opinion of the UK Home Office anyway.)

The news there revolves around the fact that offenders under the age of 18 are routinely turned lose, no matter how violent. A 18-year-old, out on bail, beat a father of three to death, and just recently convicted.
Three teenagers were convicted of the crime last week amid revelations that the gang leader and repeat violent offender Adam Swellings, 18 at the time, had been freed on bail only hours before the killing. Helen Newlove, the victim's widow, said: "For too long, young thugs have got away with a slap on the wrist."
Jails are overcrowded and the UK doesn't want to spend money building more of them. Besides they consider the US policy of "getting tough on crime" - popular since the late 80s at least - to be unenlightened. Of course our crime rates have fallen and theirs have risen.
The youth crime statistics, uncovered by The Sunday Telegraph within Ministry of Justice reports, relate to offenders aged 10 to 17 who were either convicted in court or issued with a police caution. Total offences climbed steadily from 184,474 in 2003 to 222,750 in 2006, the last year for which figures are available - a rise of 21 per cent. But the increase in violent offending was steeper, while robberies rose even more dramatically, up 43 per cent over the three years. By contrast, adult convictions and cautions increased by less than one per cent.
Young offenders are routinely given Anti-social Behavior Orders (ASBOs) akin to traffic tickets. It isn't even a slap on the wrist really.

Adam Swellings, was out on bail after viciously assaulting a teenage girl (daughter of a cop) who testified against him in yet another assault case.

Court set thug free to murder father of three says a bit about how this goblin was treated by the courts
Despite his increasingly violent behaviour over more than two years before Mr Newlove's murder, including the intimidation of witnesses and an attack on the 16-year-old daughter of a police officer, Swellings was deemed "low risk" by a council youth offending team.
You have to wonder what the "high risk" individuals looked like to that council.

'Law's failure began with my daughter' tells of the girl assaulted by Swellings, and what the consequences for her personally were.

Britain appears to believe that they can end crime without fighting crime, namely putting criminals in jail and letting the law abiding defend themselves. Until they decide to get serious, they will be fighting a losing battle.

No comments: