ABOUT 10,000 Victorian children aged 10 to 14 have been cautioned by police, arrested or ordered to appear in court in the past year, as a surge in youth crime continues.
Victoria Police say the escalation in juvenile crimes — ranging from break and enters to drug offences and assaults — is being fuelled by children's growing exposure to sexual and violent images on the internet. While exact figures for the past year are not available yet, police dealt with 9860 criminals in the 10-14 age group in 2006-07 — a rise of 18% on the previous year — and say the situation is getting worse.
The head of the police youth affairs office, Inspector Steve Soden, said too many children were viewing inappropriate content on the internet and this, coupled with boredom due to a lack of community services on Melbourne's fringes, was behind the alarming rise in youth crime.
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