Car thefts double in Townsville amid high youth unemployment
Car theft in the north Queensland city of Townsville has doubled, with almost a dozen vehicles being stolen on a bad night.
On some nights, up to 10 cars have been stolen, with juveniles as young as 11 being tracked down and charged as reported by Josh Bavas
In the first six months of last year there were 230 motor vehicle offences, including car theft, but 461 for the same period this year, Queensland Police data showed.
ABC News spent a weeknight with the Rapid Action and Patrols police squad, which is tasked with responding to property crime related incidents.
About a dozen officers spend their shift conducting welfare checks on young offenders, attending call-outs to break-ins and responding to more serious incidents.
Townsville’s unemployment rate for those aged over 15 years sits at 13.2 per cent, the highest in the state, Department of Employment figures showed.
Youth unemployment comes in at 16.8 per cent.
James Apps and his partner received a late-night phone call from their neighbour alerting them to thieves stealing their cars
Thieves broke into their Douglas home two weeks ago, stole their car keys from the kitchen bench and drove away in their two cars.
“We walked out and saw no cars in the garage; we were shocked,” he said.
“It’s been a big wake-up call for us.”
“It’s very frustrating, you’re just sitting and waiting and on the phone to insurance companies, on the phone to police link … just hoping you can get your car back.”
In May, the issue was raised in Parliament by Opposition MP Tim Mander, who blamed the crimes on young repeat offenders.
“Over 50 per cent of these crimes are being committed by juveniles; young offenders aged 10 to 16.”
“Property crime is rife, these young people are stealing cars, they’re breaking into homes and they’re stealing in general.”
“We all know that they deserve a second chance but do they deserve an eighth, a night and a tenth chance?’ To read more click here.
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