Youth crime in Niagara

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The Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) has school/police protocols with the District School Board of Niagara, the Niagara Catholic District School Board, and the French language school boards. Four (4) full-time School Resource Officers (SROs) are dedicated to school/youth related matters and the program has been described as “a tremendous success” by the NRPS (Report 215/2010). The SRO allows students to feel their police are approachable and will listen as well as protect them. They are looking to expand this program.

Rates of Youth Justice Crime

The Youth Severity Index (CSI) (2009), is a measure for the seriousness of police-reported crime. It showed that for youth, 12-17 years of age, crime severity has generally been declining since 2001, including a 2% drop in 2009 and the traditional youth crime rate (based on the number of youth accused) was at virtually the same level in 2009 as it was a decade earlier (Juristat: Canadian Centre for Justice, Statistics Canada, 2010, Catalogue no. 85-002-x, vol. 30, no. 2 Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2009 – in Niagara Report 215-2010). This trend is true, despite the fact that far fewer youth (12% fewer) are being setenced to custody than a decade earlier (Juristat:Youth Court Statistics 2008/2009). Although the youth rate is generally stable, youth violent crime was 10% higher nationally than a decade earlier.

In Niagara,the youth crime rate lowered between 2001 and 2003; remained steady from 2003 to 2005 and rose 2006 to 2008 and is down to 22.58 in 2009, well below Ontario and Canda’s youth crime rates of 33.02 and 33.61 respectively.

Note: In 81% of school-based violence incidents, at least one other person had some type of knowledge of the attacker’s plan (93% were peers), yet only a fraction reported their concerns” (Polluck, 2008 in Niagara Region Report 215-2010).

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