x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Youth anti-crime campaign to be expanded

School students are given an insight into the country's courts as part of a campaign by the family and juvenile prosecution to educate them on the consequences of bad behaviour.

DUBAI // A campaign that takes school students into court to witness the consequences of juvenile crime is to be expanded.

Fifteen government schools in the emirate have been taking part in the Nibras programme, which is aimed at students between 14 and 17, during the last year, but this number is set to rise and could soon include private schools, Mohammed Rustom, the head of the Dubai Family and Juvenile Prosecution said today.

"Most crimes among teenagers are carried out by juveniles aged between 14 and 17, that is why we targeted this age range," said Mr Rustom.

As part of the campaign, 402 boys and 344 girls were lectured on the consequences of criminal behaviour before being taken on visits to court rooms to give them an insight into real life case. The programme also involved 38 supervisors.

Issues high on the agenda included physical assaults, drug use and electronic crimes.

Mr Rustom said that his department had dealt with 87 cases of juvenile crime in the first quarter of 2012. This compared to 72 cases in the same period of 2011 and 84 cases in the first quarter of 2010.

"The most common crimes among males where assault and theft, while romantic-related cases where common among females," said Mr Rustom. Examples of such 'romantic' crimes were going out with boys and having illicit relations.

Mr Rustom called for stiffer penalties for juveniles whose crimes involved force and for the law to criminalise unjustified possession of a weapon by a teenager.

"It's a times bomb that can explode any minute," he said, referring to youths carrying weapons such as knives, swords and metal bars.

"I call on families to be more vigilant towards their children because the country cannot assign a police officer to watch over each teenager," he added.

The Nibras campaign proved popular with the students and schools participating, gaining a score of 94 per cent satisfaction on a survey carried out a month after the programme finished. Participating schools were chosen by the Dubai Education Authority.

salamir@thenational.ae