Youth violence in focus as the number of incidences increase; members of the public suggest solutions

Members of the public continue to express concern about youth violence which seems to be on an increase in the country.

The most recent incident occurred last Friday afternoon (February 3) in St. John’s where several students were detained by the police.

A number of weapons were seized, including cutlasses, knives and several pairs of scissors, following after-school fights around the city.

Lawmen had to intervene in at least four of these incidents in an effort to quell the situation.

There were no reports of injuries, in spite of the altercations and a video showing a group of boys outside of the YMCA Sports Complex, some wearing hooded shirts while the others had their heads covered, and at least one with a cutlass. 

The youth with the weapon did not try to conceal it but walked openly with it as motorists drove past him on their commute.

The rowdy set of youngsters later went into the sporting complex. Sources say at least three of the clashes occurred in the vicinity of the YMCA and one close to the Ministry of Works.

While some people are calling for stiffer penalties to deal with this deviant behaviour, others say parents are to be blamed for this out-of-control actions by their children. 

One man says that children spend less time at school and more of their time at home and therefore parents need to play a greater role in their children’s lives.

He opined that the violent behavior being exhibited could be an indication of what is witnessed at home.

He believes that where there is a strong relationship between children and parents, the more influence the parents will have since children will more likely seek their guidance and value their support and opinion.

Another opinion is that charges should be leveled against the parents for their children’s deviant behaviour. 

A woman says that measures should be put in place to prevent young people being able to openly purchase these weapons.

Reportedly at least six students were taken away in a police vehicle, following the clashes near the YMCA.

Those who were detained by the police were likely handed over to their parents pending further investigations, based on the Juvenile Justice Act.