As social problems increase among Malaysian youths, youth crimes too have risen
especially since the late 1990s. Sad to say, the youth crimes are becoming more
violent and alarming. Young people are responsible for 40% of crimes committed
today! Examples of such crimes are theft, burglary, robbery and fighting.
Youth crimes are caused by various factors. They can be poor attainment at
school, truancy and school exclusion, deprivation
such as poor housing or homelessness and peer group pressure. Family factors
include troubled home life, poor parental supervision, criminal parents or
siblings, parental abuse or neglect and the quality of the parent-child
Parents usually do not accept that they are to be blamed when something goes
wrong with their child. Instead, they are quick to blame the system and others
when their child commits crimes. They refuse to accept that due to lack of
parental attention, the teenagers turn to wrong company and get influenced to
commit crimes. These youth criminals do this either to fit into the group or to
listen to the group leader.
Tackling youth crimes is a priority for the government today. One move taken
is to introduce major changes to the youth justice system, which together with
preventive measures, are aimed to reduce offending by young people. The
prevention efforts implemented are comprehensive in scope. They include
activities such as substance abuse education and treatment, family counseling,
youth mentoring, parenting education, educational support and youth sheltering.
All these come under the delinquency
prevention program. The aim of the program is preventing youth from becoming
involved in criminal or other anti-social activities.
Increasingly, governments are recognizing the importance of allocating
resources for the prevention of delinquency. As it is often difficult for states
to provide the fiscal resources necessary for good prevention, organizations,
communities andgovernments are working more in
collaboration with each other to prevent juvenile delinquency.
Schools play a big role in this. A school-based program has been initiated to
provide support and advice to young people aimed at improving behavior and
reducing truancy. When students show greater interest in their studies, they are
less likely to be influenced by bad company. Some youth centers impose a
requirement for parents to attend counseling and guidance sessions where they
receive help in dealing with their children.
Youth offending teams are an important part of our strategy to deal with
youth crime. They include representatives from the police, social services,
health, education and housing. Their job is to identify the needs of each young
offender as well as their problems and then measuring the risk they pose to
others. This enables them to identify suitable programs to address the needs of
the young person so they can be rehabilitated.