THE report, “Rise in juvenile crime worrying” (NST, April 1) on the surge in criminal cases involving juveniles over the last two years is indeed worrying.

In 2007, there were 1,836 criminal cases involving juveniles. Last year, the figure rose to 2,218.

According to statistics, more than 80 per cent of the people nabbed for various crimes in 2007 and last year were juveniles between the ages of 13 and 18. They committed murder, rape, robbery, rioting, break-ins and vandalism.

Also, a survey by the Youth Research and Development Institute of Malaysia and the Psychology Research and Development Centre of Malaysia showed that 87 per cent of Mat Rempit come from the 14 to 25 age group.

The inspector-general of police has said that there is an indication that more teenagers and students are involved in criminal activities. And many are getting bolder and meaner.

These statistics and figures on criminal activities by young people are alarming and there is a rising concern about personal safety.

The problem has to be nipped in the bud and parents will inevitably have to play a big role in this.

They should check their children’s whereabouts and their friends.

If their children are involved in unhealthy activities, parents should not hesitate to report them to the authorities so that they could be counselled and rehabilitated.

Some parents are aware of their children’s dark side but, blinded by parental love, prefer to do nothing about it.

We have read of parents being threatened and beaten by their drug-addict children asking for money, yet they do not report them.

In schools, teachers should advise the young people about the consequences if they turn to crime for a living. Schools could invite the police to organise talks on crime and crime-fighting.

The survey also revealed that young people became involved in crime because they had too much free time and were bored.

Therefore, schools and non-governmental organisations should organise more co-curricular activities so that students could spend their time beneficially.

If young people keep themselves occupied and exposed to new and exciting activities, criminal activities among the young could be curbed.

SAMUEL YESUIAH, Seremban

Source: NST – April 10, 2009