Glebe police say that a curfew system to keep offenders off the streets at night is working to reduce juvenile crime.
The number of violent juvenile convictions in the suburb has halved over the last two years, from 43 to 23, since the initiative commenced.
Senior Constable Sam Donni, who case manages young offenders, said they are placed on curfews to keep them off the streets at night.
“We try and help them get a job, stay in school, abide by their bail conditions, [and] work with their families to help understand the causes of why they’re offending,” he said.
He added this approach encouraged them to follow their bail conditions, rather than risk a court summons.
If a minor is a known offender, it is now common for Glebe police to drop in on them after 7pm to check whether they are fulfilling their curfews.
Minors committing crimes against property is also down by a quarter, but owners of businesses on Glebe Point Road say kids are still hanging out as late as 4am – and want police to work with parents to fix the problem.
Glebe café owner of seven years, Bill Dennoui, said kids were roaming the streets out of boredom, swearing and drinking until the morning, and were only ever cautioned by police.
“People are scared to come down [to Glebe Point Road at night],” he said.
“Students and even adults are too scared to walk home. One of my staff always insists of catching a cab straight from the door.
“And in the past I’ve had staff who, on their first night, get jumped for their money.”
Sixteen-year-old Graham (surname withheld), who said he runs with gang “The Glebe Boys” (TGB), said he had felt the extra police surveillance, but that it had not stopped his crew engaging in theft.
But he said a football team or a music studio where kids could hang out would stop him and others from committing crimes.
Glebe police are also patrolling crime hot-spots, following up truancy with schools, and case managing high-risk offenders to reduce crime further.
Children who need guidance and a place to ‘hang out’ can go to the Glebe Youth Service, Police and Community Youth Club (PCYC), or the Peter Forsyth Auditorium.
by Laura Cathery