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State Files Charges Against Over 140 Youths for Bragging About Crimes on Social Media

This crackdown comes amidst growing concerns over the prevalence of such disturbing trends.

Queensland police have charged 144 youths for “posting and boasting” their alleged criminal activities online in a sweeping crackdown on the disturbing social media trend.

Since mid-2023, Queensland Police’s Queensland Police’s Digital Intelligence and Community Engagement (DICE) team has monitored young offenders’ online boasting, which has contributed to increased youth crime in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland.

The DICE team used intelligence-driven strategies to target teens seeking unfavourable fame, resulting in over 600 investigative leads.

Deputy Commissioner Shane Chelepy said the team helped police identify potential offenders and gather evidence for prosecutions.

“Already dozens of victims of crime have found justice thanks to their efforts and the efforts of detectives in identifying, locating and arresting 144 alleged offenders,” he said in a statement.

He mentioned teens were commonly charged for unlawfully using a car.

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“To steal a car is criminal and reckless, but to brag about it on social media is heartless and brazen,” he said.

“So when we are seeing young offenders committing these offences and live streaming them, we’re able to hold them to account.”

It follows the 2021-22 Queensland Crime Report revealing a 13.7 percent rise in the number of children aged ten to 17, facing legal action by police compared to the previous year. The total number of youth offenders reached 52,742, the highest in ten years.

As crime rises in the state, Police Minister Mark Ryan said Queensland Police have been pushed to the forefront of modern policing.

“As technology and criminal trends change, police will continue to adapt to ensure thorough investigations to arrest offenders and protect the public,” he said.

It comes as a spotlight sits firmly on youth crime, grabbing widespread interest and sparking heated public debate, after a 16-year-old boy was charged with allegedly murdering a 70-year-old grandmother outside a Queensland shopping centre.

Vyleen White was fatally stabbed in the chest in the centre’s car park at Redbank Plains, near Brisbane, while shopping with her six-year-old granddaughter on Feb. 3.

Three days later, the boy from Bellbird Park was charged with murder, using a car unlawfully, and theft.

Police charged four other youths, described as African in appearance.

Deputy Police Commissioner Chelepy said the grandmother’s death “shouldn’t have happened,” noting police were working hard to deal with these types of incidents.

In another case, police charged a 14-year-old boy from Crib Point after a shocking video circulated online showing a man allegedly assaulted and pushed into the water off a pier near Schnapper Point Drive around midnight on Jan. 14.

As a group of teens got close to a man standing on the pier’s edge, one of them can be heard in the video saying: “Go, go, go.”

Another boy allegedly forcefully shoves the man in the chest, sending him plunging into the water below.

Police mentioned that the man wasn’t seriously injured and was pulled from the water by horrified onlookers.

Politicians Under Pressure to Tackle Youth Crime Crisis

Criminal Justice Professor Terry Goldsworthy said politicians are feeling increasing pressure to address widely-publicised criminal acts and the public perception that Australia overall is facing a youth crime crisis.

“In Queensland for instance, a group called Voice for Victims has been holding protests and recently met with [former] Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to push their demands for a stronger law and order response and higher assistance payments to victims,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Report on Government Servicesindicates that while 89 percent of people felt safe at home at night in 2021-22, only 32.7 percent felt safe on public transport and 53.8 percent on the street.

At the same time, a survey of Queenslanders revealed that almost half thought youth crime was on the rise or at a crisis level, with three-quarters stating they had enhanced their home security in the past year.

Mr. Goldsworthy argued that there was a feeling of crisis, partly due to increasing crime rates, a sense of helplessness in the community, and a perception that the government was failing to ensure safety and security.

In Queensland, the government responded with “tougher measures,” he said.

“It has controversially proposed using police watchhouses to detain youth offenders, overriding its own Human Rights Act with a special provision only meant to be used in exceptional situations.”

However, he said there was still a sizeable journey ahead.

“While action needs to be taken in the short term to address community safety concerns, all states and territories also need to address the longer-term, multi-factorial causes of youth crime, such as truancy and disengagement from school, drug usage, domestic violence in the home and poor parenting.”

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