'If you stole a horse you’d get hung’: Harsh penalties push
GOLD Coast Mayor Tom Tate has demanded the State Government back hardline policies to crack down on the city's youth crime epidemic.
A furious Cr Tate on Thursday said the community was "sick and tired" of young criminals acting with impunity and demanded action.
He backed calls from the Queensland Police Union to trial ankle tracking and supported police getting extra powers to charge young crooks who showcase their crimes on social media.
"Absolutely, there is evidence there and if they want to show off their crime misadventures and big-note themselves, they should be prosecuted and police should go after them," he said.
"Until we do that, you'll just see more of this on Facebook.
"So I say to these people keep posting it, we'll get you."
Cr Tate said the punishment should match the crimes.
"My message to youth offenders is that if you do the crime, you need to wear the bracelet," he said.
"Police Minister Mark Ryan is a great listener so I say, let's take it for a trial and make it part of the sentencing.
"To the civil libertarians who say it is an invasion of their rights, I say, they have already invaded those people's rights by breaking into houses and stealing the car keys so I think the majority of Gold Coast and Queenslanders would be at one on this.
"Education goes a certain way, forgiveness goes a long way but for repeat offenders they need to wear the bracelet.
"Back in the day if you stole a horse, you got hanged, this time you steal a car, you get the bracelet."
'GET IN THEIR FACE': TOUGH LOVE CALL TO END COAST'S TEEN CRIM CRISIS
KICKING teenage crims to the kerb won't solve the continual wave of break-ins and car thefts smashing Gold Coast suburbs, warns outreach worker Joe Te Puni-Fromont.
"Sitting back and calling them little s--ts isn't going to change anything, we have to look at why they're jumping cars and breaking into pharmacies to steal drugs," he said.
The Bulletin has relentlessly highlighted the need for the state government to clamp down on the city's kindergarten crooks who are stabbing kids in the streets of Surfers Paradise, smashing their way into homes and causing carnage on the roads.
Last month, a 17-year-old allegedly stole a car and crashed into Brisbane couple Kate Leadbetter and Matty Field, killing them and their unborn child.
M ORE NEWS
On Wednesday, three teenagers were arrested in Pimpama after a two-hour police chase in the northern Gold Coast involving the POLAIR helicopter and dozens of officers. It is alleged the teenagers were driving a car stolen in Mermaid Beach.
Anger in local communities across the Gold Coast is at fever pitch, with residents considering taking matters into their own hands by setting up vigilante groups.
Mr Te Puni-Fromont is a director at Everything Suarve, an Ormeau charity delivering an ambitious program using "tough love" and a "no bull---t approach" to reforming kids hooked on drugs and trapped in a cycle of poverty and crime.
Last year the charity helped 10 teenagers, on the brink of being thrown in jail, to complete a hands-on, 80-hour training program. Nine of them are now locally employed and working full time, with 25 more troubled teens enrolled to complete the entry-level construction course this month.
Mr Te Puni-Fromont said 80 per cent of the kids he worked with came from the court system for stealing cars, breaking into homes and doing hit and runs on the pharmacies to get prescription drugs
"It's the prescription drugs that's running through the youth today that's killing them and they're so easy to get," he said.
"They know what they have to say to doctors and can easily ring up telehealth and say they're depressed or suicidal and can pick up a script at a pharmacy without parental signatures.
"These kids are smart and are taking the system for a run and getting a slap on the wrist and getting away with it."
However, at Everything Suarve, Mr Te Puni-Fromont said disengaged youths were willingly handing over their stash of pills to be kept in a locked safe.
Pills tucked away in the safe include Xanax, used to treat anxiety, Olanzapine Sandoz, a drug used to treat schizophrenia, and Fluvoxamine, an antidepressant often used to treat obsessive compulsive disorder.
"These kids are just doing it to be cool, to impress their mates, but when it comes down to it most don't want to end up in jail or have a life of crime," he said.
"All of us here have been where the boys have been, either growing up disadvantaged, being involved in crime or dealing with drug or alcohol abuse struggles. That's why we're so successful in being able to reach them.
"Unlike other organisations, we don't have red tape in regards to how we speak to these kids, so we level with them - there's no judgment," he said.
"We get in their face and speak to them in a very real way, we don't have to sugar-coat it and definitely don't p--s in their pocket.
"If they break into a chemist to get drugs, we explain how this affects people such as their sick grandmothers, or those who break into homes, we talk frankly about how they'd feel if someone smashed their way into their loved one's house.
"No one is forcing us to help these kids, but there's a real need for it.
"Usually when parents ring us up we're their last hope at stopping their kids from ending up in jail."
Mr Te Puni-Fromont said he hoped to reach kids before they started down the path of crime.
"Slapping these kids on the wrist doesn't work, and not to discredit what the youth department is doing, but we're hoping the state government will look to fund charities such as us that are actually turning these kids around."
Originally published as 'If you stole a horse you'd get hung': Calls for harsh penalties