Warwick Patrol Group Inspector Brian Cannon is no stranger to rural policing.
Warwick Patrol Group Inspector Brian Cannon is no stranger to rural policing. Samantha O'Neil

'I'M QUIETLY CHEERING': Youth crime hits all-time low

CRIMES committed by children under the age of 17 on the Southern Downs have dropped to the lowest number seen in seven years.

Following a nation-wide decline in youth crime, the overall number of youth offences on the Southern Downs dropped 48 per cent from 2013 to 2017.

Warwick Patrol Group Inspector Brian Cannon said he was heartened by the statistics and attributed it to a "total community effort".

He said the police approach to juvenile offenders was focussed on positive engagement and assistance and laying charges was a last resort.

"Our wish is the same as the rest of the community: If we have a young person who is in a situation that is supported and needs to be encouraged, that's what we will try to do," Insp Cannon said.


The most common offences committed by young people in 2017 were related to damaging property, drugs and unlawful entry.

But while the number of youth offences declined across most categories on the Southern Downs, traffic offences and crimes committed under the Weapons Act were at an all-time high. Eight Weapons Act offences were recorded in 2017, a figure double that of the previous year.


JUVENILE OFFENCES: Data showing number of juvenile offences in Southern Downs in some categories, plus overall number offences (bottom row).

"I think you'll find there has been an emphasis on weapons in policing," Insp Cannon said.

"I think it represents not so much a spike caused by an increase in activity but by people being more prepared to talk about these things."

Juvenile traffic offences were also at an all-time high last year, with 11 offences recorded in total.

Police data from the past seven years shows a significant spike in juvenile offences in 2013, with 1221 in total. By 2017 that number had fallen to 758.

"It could have been because our engagement and enforcement was of such a nature that is wasn't good but today we're in a much better position," Insp Cannon said.

"I am quietly cheering. At the end of the day we, like any other community, have a great set of kids who have an opportunity to become great adults."