Girl crime is on the rise

NUMBERS of crimes committed by girls in the east of England has shot up by nearly a quarter in only three years, figures have revealed.According to a study by the Youth Justice Report, girls aged between ten and 17 committed 5,668 in 2006/07, up 24.

NUMBERS of crimes committed by girls in the east of England has shot up by nearly a quarter in only three years, figures have revealed.

According to a study by the Youth Justice Report, girls aged between ten and 17 committed 5,668 in 2006/07, up 24.6 per cent from 4,548 in 2003/2004.

This compared to a 6.3pc rise in crimes committed by boys over the same period, although males still commit the overwhelming majority of crimes.

The most common crimes committed by girls were theft, violent attacks, criminal damage and public order offences.

Girls in the region were responsible for 59 robberies, 412 public order offences, 49 racially aggravated crimes and 1,430 incidents of violence against the person.

While some experts have blamed the trend on the “ladette culture” and underage drinking, others said that the statistics reflected the fact that criminality by young girls was being taken more seriously than in the past.

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The figures, which relate to offences that resulted in a police warning or a court sanction, are reflected nationally.

Such is the concern, that the Youth Justice Board has ordered a study into offending by girls.

Rod Morgan, the former chairman of the Youth Justice Board, said that police are increasingly being called in to deal with behaviour that only a few years ago would have been dealt with in schools or care homes.

He said that some teachers and care home workers had lost the confidence to deal with bad behaviour, including minor acts of criminal damage, sometimes because they fear that parents will challenge them and even take legal action.

Elaine Arnull, a sociology researcher, said behaviour among girls was changing, perhaps fuelled by alcohol consumption.

She said: “It looks like there is a link between the use of alcohol and violence.

“We think that girls drinking regularly are more likely to be involved in violent offending. That is a change.”

What do you make of the statistics? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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