Your editorial “put arrogant offenders to work in the businesses they damage” (26/8) reignited memories of the seriousness of youth crime – not this week or last but back in the very late 1980’s. The consequences of criminal behaviour impacting on Darwin residents and business owners was so severe, that a community forum on the subject was organised. This forum took place over two days and was held at the Uniting Church in Casuarina. The gathering, on both days was well attended; pros and cons including supposition about the reasons for criminal behaviour and what might be done to understand the behaviour of perpetrators while better supporting victims, were canvassed at length.
Toward the end of the second day, the gathering resolved that a committee be established to keep a watching brief over criminal behaviour impacting the community, while developing recommendations to put before government on how the matter might be addressed. The group was asked to develop strategies which, if actioned, might help reduce the levels of crime being encountered.
The committee was to meet monthly and report to government on the progress of its deliberations. After several meetings, the group agreed that it’s task was impossible and it was disbanded.
Thirty plus years on, aberrant and criminal behaviour by youth is still an issue, but one that is much sharper, more focussed and seemingly more insoluble than those decades ago.