A Crime in Progress… but “It wasn’t all his fault…”

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THUNDER BAY – EDITORIAL – “It wasn’t all his fault…”, those were the words from a mother I spoke to the other evening. Her 15 year old son had managed to steal the pin number, and bank card off of someone who he called a friend.

The mother explained that the teenagers were planning to purchase beer, and that somehow let her son off the hook.

All of this after the mother knew her son had stolen the pin, stolen the bank card and then used it to take money out of the account of another person. “It was’nt all his fault”?

She admited those facts to me over the telephone, but brushed away the problem blaming “someone else”.

When it comes to crime, and something called “unreported crime” this incident is one of those where the police were not called. The involved parties reportedly solved it on their own with the return of the bank card and cash.

The problem in some cases, from talking to young people, teachers, community volunteers and professionals is that left alone, these young criminals end up committing bigger and bigger crimes until finally they get caught, charged and end up in jail.

This particular young person was caught this past June stealing a bike. He was in the home of a friend and alledgedly stole from the mother’s purse. He was also, from statements from his friends, allegedly responsible for other small crimes.

The young teenager allegedly would build up some trust, and then use that trust to steal from those who trusted him. Incredibly sad.

One alleged incident included vandalism and destruction of private property which was all captured on video tape. When the police were shown the tape they said there was little they could do. What is worse, the teen actually put pictures of parts of the vandalism online. In otherwords, he has got so cocky over getting away with things that he feels invulnerable enough to post evidence online.

Last June, the mother justified the problem as her “good boy” who just occasionally does bad things. She was able then to convince those involved that she could handle the problems. Based on the results, it certainly looks like her results could be posted online on the “fail blog” just as her son has posted things there too.

During the past year, in Thunder Bay, the issue of crime has been widely covered in the news. The City of Thunder Bay is launching a Crime Prevention Council as a means of looking to solve problems.

Perhaps it will work. I certainly hope that it does. We had all better hope, and help the Crime Prevention Council to succeed.

However as in most cases, solving society’s problems means starting with families and putting in place the values and standards that assure that children grow up with good solid values.

I suspect in the case of this 15 year old boy, it won’t be too long before his string of anti-social behaviour, and allegeded criminal activities end up with him in the criminal justice system.

Sadly, I suspect his mother will be angrier at the police and the system than at her child.

Perhaps in her misguided efforts to protect her son, she has become a contributing factor in his ongoing march along the wrong path? In cases like this, all of society suffers because of the flaws in the social fabric in our families, schools and society as a whole.

James Murray

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