SHAH ALAM: Selangor is seeing a 10 per cent jump in teenage crime, a worrying trend that is mirrored elsewhere in the country.
State police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Shukri Dahlan said those as young as 12 years old were getting involved in crimes although Selangor recorded an overall 7 per cent drop in crimes so far this year.
He said 165 teenagers, from 12 to 17 years old, had been arrested between January and March - a 10 per cent increase from the corresponding period in 2013.
Of those arrested, 86 were for violent crimes including blackmail, snatch thefts and being a part of gangs and drug distribution syndicates.
SDCP Shukri said 79 others were arrested for minor offences, mostly motorcycle thefts, which accounted for 40 per cent of the crimes.
"A big majority, maybe 70 per cent, of the motorcycle thefts in the last three months, has been linked to juveniles. On top of other serious offences committed by some youths, this is a cause for concern.
"In this day and age where the young are easily influenced by social ills, parents and teachers play a crucial role in curbing youth involvement in crime in schools and at home," he told reporters here.
In January, a policeman in George Town was attacked by about 30 people aged 18 to 19 when he tried to prevent two men from being beaten up outside an entertainment outlet.
Earlier this week, the police in Malacca announced they were hunting for a gang of seven school dropouts aged 15 to 18 whom they said had committed 80 snatch thefts in the last few months.
On Sunday, an 18-year-old boy from Miri was arrested for allegedly stabbing his mother to death in the neck after quarrelling over a handphone.
Last year, 214 aged between 13 and 18 were caught abusing drugs, according to the National Anti-Drugs Agency.
Echoing SDCP Shukri's concern, Bukit Aman Crime Prevention and Eradication Department director Datuk Wira Ayub Yaakob said that last year saw a 47 per cent jump in nationwide violent crime among minors aged between 12 and 17. Some were even involved in murder and rape cases.
He said cases of violent crimes went up from 368 in 2012 to 542 last year among schoolgoing children.
Cases involving non-schoolgoing children saw a 137 per cent jump with 2,011 reported last year, compared to 849 in 2012.
"Most minors get into crime because of peer influence and elements of gangsterism that are penetrating schools," Ayub said.
"The police have been in talks with the Education Ministry and schools to curb this problem. We are stationing liaison officers in schools to identify the problematic students.
"We are also educating students through workshops and summer camps as well as starting cadet police units and crime prevention clubs in schools."
Meanwhile, the Selangor contingent joined about 800 cadet police officers in a march to mark the 44th Police Cadet Corps Day celebrations.