Youth, use holidays constructively

2018-06-14 06:01

With school holidays approaching, the City of Cape Town appeals to parents and young people to visit their local community centres and libraries, where several programmes will be on offer to keep children occupied.

The appeal comes after another busy week for the City’s enforcement services, with Metro Police and Traffic Services arresting a total of 148 suspects.

More than 80% of the arrests were for driving under the influence, but it is the 10 suspects arrested for possession of drugs, firearms and stolen property who are of real concern, says Jean-Pierre Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

He says it is very unsettling that, as “we commemorate youth month our Metro Police Department is arresting suspects as young for very serious crimes.

“We need to address issues around young people by ensuring they remain in school, have sustainable extramural activities to keep them occupied,” Smith said, “and their home environment is one where they’re able to thrive and receive guidance.”

He said some of these are aspects that government can and should become involved in, but much of what needs to be done starts at home.

Smith says since 2013 the City’s Metro Police Department has hosted leadership and life-skills programmes for thousands of young people through its youth camps, which culminated in the establishment of the Youth Cadet Programme.

Smith says several incidents that took place recently highlight the need for greater intervention for youth at risk. For instance: . Just after midnight on Sunday, a 21-year-old woman was arrested for theft in the central business district after being caught on camera fleeing with a stolen cellphone.
. After 22:00 on Saturday evening, three young men aged 18 and 19 were taken into custody along with an older suspect caught. in possession of a firearm in Bonteheuwel.
. On Friday, a 15-year-old was one of three suspects arrested for possession of drugs in Grassy Park.
. In Lavender Hill, a 21-year-old male was arrested for drug possession by the Metro Police Gang and Drug Task Team.
. The same officers later arrested a 16-year-old male for the same offence in Hanover Park.
. On Tuesday 5 June, two 17-year-old males were arrested for possession of a stolen motorcycle in Athlone.
. In Hanover Park, a 15-year-old was arrested for possession of drugs after a whistle-blower tipped off the Metro Police K9 Unit that he was selling drugs on a street corner. His stash was found hidden in a nearby electricity box.

Smith says a conviction or a life of crime has consequences that are hard to shake.

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