This is worrying – Children now engage in ‘adult crimes’

The Ghana Police Service has expressed worry over the alarming rate of crime involving young people.

Speaking to the Junior Graphic in an interview, the Accra Regional Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Freeman Tettey, said it was pathetic that children as young as 14 years and above were engaged in fraud, stealing, robbery, car snatching, drugs and other sexual offences.

He said in the past those crimes were labelled as “adult crimes” but young people now were involved in all sorts of crime in society.

DSP Tettey said what was particularly worrying was the use of motorbikes by the young people to snatch phones, bags and other valuables.

He said those who committed the crime were both children in school, as well as dropouts.

He said the rate of ‘sakawa’ (cyber crime) among young people was also increasing, as many youngsters were found at Internet cafes when they should be in school, pointing out that even those who attended school were often found in the cafes in the evening.

“What we have observed is that most parents do not know their children. What you often hear parents say when their children are involved in a crime is that my child is not like that; I don’t believe my child can do this; I don’t believe what the complainant is saying,” stressing that parents just don’t know what their children are up to.”

DSP Tettey said the high crime rate involving children signified a breakdown of the family structure, while some young people were involved in crimes with the approval of their parents or close relatives who were themselves criminals.

He said the crave for wealth and materialism among young people was also a factor and it was important for parents to be more responsible than is the case now and instil good values in their children.

He said if the “little crimes” children commit at home are not checked, they would grow up to become hardened criminals in future.

According to DSP Tettey, in Ghana when a child is involved in crime, he or she is processed under the Juvenile Justice Act.

However, he noted that there were instances, especially for minor offences, when the law enforcement agencies engaged the parents of the child, advised the child involved in the crime and released the child once there was an agreement with the complainant.

Another issue of concern, according to DSP Tettey, was that some young people now deliberately allowed themselves to be hit by vehicles and when the drivers decide to take them to a hospital to be cared for, they refuse and bargain for some specified amount of money from the drivers.

He said it was the responsibility of all, especially parents and guardians, to help reverse the current situation so that young people who would become leaders of the nation in future would be responsible.

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