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Youth Crime Tragedy
19 January 2019

Questions and blame are being fired at the New Zealand Police following the fatal crash in Christchurch on the 13th of January that killed 3 teenagers; the youngest being 13 years old.
The father of two of the boys said the Police killed his kids. Sensible Sentencing Trust Youth Advocate Jess McVicar said “The deaths of the three boys is an absolute tragedy, there is no doubt about that, but the police cannot be blamed for this at all. The teenagers had stolen a car, done burnouts and skids at their mum’s house just before the crash, then fled the police and at times reached speeds of 130km/h. These boys knew what they were doing was wrong. They broke the law on more than one occasion"

Brooklyn Taylor ,13, who also died in the crash, was in the care of Oranga Tamariki at the time of the crash.
This is not the first time they had stolen a car, it has been a regular past time throughout Christchurch in recent months.
Jess says questions must be pointed at the Justice System. "They had obviously been in some trouble before but have had no punishment for the offending so between Oranga Tamariki and the Youth Justice System lies part of the blame but the System will not admit any fault."

"We have another case yesterday of youth offending where an 11 year old boy was driving the stolen get away car for a aggravated crime spree! The oldest of the offending youth were 17, these kids think they can do anything they like because with in the Justice system they are untouchable, This could have been another fatal tragedy with an 11 year old driving"
But Jess says parents also need to take some accountablility in their children's lives. 
"At some stage parents have to accept they have some responsibility for their children’s behaviour."
“The boys from Christchurch clearly did not have a good role model in their father who showed complete disrespect for authority with his social media post showing him wearing a hat saying FTP. Their father said the reason for the crime was ‘boys will be boys.’ The family had criminal links. How can anyone with that opinion on life successfully raise respectful children with a hope of a decent future.”
Jess believes this is also clear evidence Oranga Tamariki do not have a grip on their role of looking after troubled youth. “How many cases have we heard of over the last year where youth in Oranga Tamariki care have got into serious trouble or committed serious crimes? Too many! Oranga Tamariki is broken and they are endangering the public with their lack of care.”
"It’s time we ripped the band aid off offending and hit the home truth.
Offenders have no respect for others, nor for the law or for themselves. They need to accept fault for their actions and when it concerns young people, their parents or role models must also be held to account and take some responsibility.” Jess

Jess says the police now abandon more fleeing drivers than previous years. In 2009 the proportion of police car chases abandoned was about 25%, and in 2018 it was nearly 60%, but the number of offender’s that choose to flee the police has risen.
The number of drivers who have fled from the police has almost doubled over the past decade with about 2000 drivers fleeing in 2009 to about 4000 in 2019 and Jess said, “This does not come down to police pursuits, this comes down to a rise in crime because we have gone soft on crime.” ENDS
Jess McVicar
Youth Advocate
Sensible Sentencing Trust
021 230 2391

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