More teenagers suspected of murder and attempted murder this year

Knives confiscated by the police. Photo:
Knives confiscated by the police. Photo:

The number of murder and attempted murder cases in which minors are suspected of having a role is up 2.5 times on last year, the AD reported on Wednesday, citing figures from the public prosecution department.

By mid November, youngsters were suspects in 64 murder and attempted murder cases, compared with 25 in the same period in 2020. There was also an increase in cases with suspects aged 18 to 21 – from 51 to 76 – the prosecution department said.

The paper did not say how many youngsters were eventually convicted of murder or attempted murder or how many remained in custody.

Nevertheless, department chief Gerrit van der Burg told the paper that he is extremely concerned about the rise in serious crime involving youngsters. ‘The worrying trend that set in last year is continuing. The petty thief of today could be the gangland killer of tomorrow,’ he said.

In particular, more youngsters are carrying knives and guns, he said. ‘And teenagers who carry knives are more likely to use them.’ Figures earlier this year showed a sharp rise in the number of minors involved in knife crime.

Many of the youngsters who end up as suspects have a difficult background and have already been involved in truancy and are on social workers’ books, Van der Burg told the paper.

Carrying weapons such as flick knives and butterfly knives is illegal but carrying an ordinary knife of up to 28cm is allowed by law. The justice ministry is working on a law to prohibit the sale of any knives to teenagers.

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