KUALA LUMPUR: CRIMES involving children aged between 7 and 18 rose by almost 50 per cent last year, a research conducted by the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation (MCPF) revealed.
These were cases that involved murder, sexual crimes or rape, robberies with and without firearms, as well as fights causing hurt. It was a jump from 368 students in 2012 to 542 students last year.
And the increase was more concentrated in Kuala Lumpur, Malacca and Sabah, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, adding that the agencies were now in the midst of studying the root cause of the increase.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the MPCF chairman, said he did not rule out the possibility that the number of crimes involving these youths could be higher as certain prestigious schools might not be lodging police reports to protect their reputation.
"I hope every school will cooperate with the police as we will not reveal their names. All we want is to study the cases, as initial investigation showed that over 50 per cent of them involved gangsters," he said after attending MPCF's 21st general meeting at the Royal Malaysian Police College here yesterday.
Statistics also showed that of the crimes involving these youngsters, rape cases had increased by 192 per cent last year compared with 2012, while robberies without firearms jumped by 268 per cent, and fights causing hurt rose by 217 per cent in the same period.
There was also a 20 per cent increase in murders, from 10 in 2012, to 12 last year.
Some 2,011 school dropouts also formed part of the statistics, showing a rise of 137 per cent when compared with 849 school dropouts who were involved in such criminal activities in 2012.
Admitting that a lot of work needed to be done to check crime among youngsters, Ahmad Zahid urged school authorities to play a more proactive role in monitoring and preventing students from engaging in criminal activities.