The hard-core kids fuelling crime wave
AROUND 30-40 juvenile delinquents are responsible for the majority of youth crime in Cairns committing everything from shop stealing through to serious assaults.
For the first time police have broken down the numbers to reveal the small percentage of the approximately 40,000 children living in Cairns who are teaming up in gangs to go on crime rampages across the city.
Senior police said the figures fluctuate constantly with youths in and out of detention, but there was a core group who were constantly in trouble with many of them hardcore 'chromers'.
The Cairns Post can also reveal profiles of three of the worst offenders currently operating in the city, including a nine-year-old boy who has been coming to the attention of police since he was just six.
"There are a small group of recidivist offenders who commit the majority of offences," Cairns police Sen-Sgt Gary Hunter said.
"These include both males and females.
"They predominantly operate in groups and offences happen more when they're in groups rather than individually."
The figures come after urgent talks were held between senior police and regional government department heads last Friday following the alleged assault of two off duty police officers by 11 people in the Cairns CBD.
Plans are in place to launch a high level team to individually case manage the worst offenders.
"The vast majority of kids (in the Far North) are really good, normal kids," Far North police Chief Supt Brian Huxley said.
"There is just a smaller number who push the envelope."
Youth Justice Minister Di Farmer supported the formation of the group.
"Some of these serious young offenders have very complex issues, and to change the behaviour of serious youth offenders we need to work together," she said.
"Change will require intensive support from families or kin, community, youth justice, child safety, police, health, education and community organisations."
A police operation which has been running in the CBD since April is set to conclude on Friday and police said it has had a significant impact on crime.
Chief Supt Huxley said a key police focus had been reducing the number of youths involved in chroming, which included successfully lobbying businesses selling particular deodorant brands to take them off the shelves.
However Cairns Chamber of Commerce president and pharmacy boss Nick Loukas said the problem was still significant across the city.
"We had kids chroming at the entrance to our pharmacy on Mulgrave Rd on the weekend," he said.
"They were literally blocking customers from coming into the pharmacy in the middle of the day."