PHUKET: Figures released by the Phuket Juvenile Observation and Protection Center show that delinquents committed 364 crimes from January 1 to July 31 this year – an increase of 11% on the overall juvenile crime rate for 2006.
Eighty-two of the cases involved inhalant abuse, such as huffing rubber cement or glue. Most inhalant-abuse cases involved boys aged 15 to 18.
Of the 559 youth-crime cases in 2006, most were related to drugs – particularly the use of inhalants. There were 147 such cases reported in 2006, with 117 cases involving boys 15 to 18 years of age. Only five cases involved girls.
The other two drugs popular with Phuket’s adolescents were marijuana, with 32 cases in the first seven months of 2007, compared with 35 cases in 2006; and ya bah (methamphetamine), with 16 cases for the first seven months of 2007, compared with 23 in 2006.
For theft, there were 83 cases in the first seven months of 2007, while 115 were reported throughout 2006. Snatch-and-run crimes appear to be on the decrease, with only two cases reported so far this year, compared with 38 in 2006.
There have been six cases of premeditated murder by youths in the first seven months of 2007, compared with seven for all of 2006.
Sangpreteep Komonlabut, director of Phuket Juvenile Observation and Protection Center, downplayed the apparent increase in juvenile crime, saying that the number of court cases tend to rise and fall over time. He said his center’s role is to rehabilitate and reform troubled teenagers so that they can return and live happily with their families.
The greatest problems in achieving this goal come with children from broken homes or those whose parents have migrated to Phuket and now spend all their time working, he added.
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