The Canadian Government enacted the Youth Criminal Justice Act in 2003 to differentiate crimes committed by children 12 to 17 years old from crimes committed by adults. The law provides alternative methods for the police, the courts, the corrections system, and diversion programs to deal with young people who commit crimes.
The law applies to all offenders in Canada from the time they are 12 years old until they turn 18.
In 2008, youth crimes were most likely to occur in:
- Private residences, accounting for 32% of all youth crimes
- Commercial establishments, where 23% of youth crimes occurred, and
- Outdoor public spaces, also accounting for 23% youth crime locations.
The time of day youths commit crimes also follows a pattern. The peak times for youth crimes in 2008 were:
- From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with 22% of violent youth crimes committed in that time frame, and about 20 % of nonviolent crimes committed then. Essentially, a significant number of youth crimes are committed shortly after the end of school hours.
- In the early afternoon, from noon to 3 p.m., about 24% of drug offences are committed.
- And in the night time, from 9 p.m. to midnight, youth traffic violations dominate, consisting of about 28% of youth crimes.
What Are the Most Common Youth Crimes?
Youth crimes committed by males and females follow similar patterns as to types of crime, but with slight variations. For young females, the most common crimes are:
- Theft under $5,000
- Common assault
- Administration-of-justice offences, typically probation violations of some sort
- Mischief, and
- Other Criminal Code violations.
For young males, the most common offences are:
- Theft under $5,000
- Drug offences
- Administration of justice violations, and
- Common assault.
Aside from young males committing drug offences while young females tend to commit “other” violations of the Criminal Code, the lists are identical save for the rankings.
Youth Offences Seem to Be On the Decline, but Youth Crime Remains a Problem
The statistics show that crimes by young offenders covered by the Youth Criminal Justice Act – those from 12 to 17 years old – might be on the decline, with a drop in the number of such offenders of about 2,700 from 2014 to 2015. Nonetheless, 92,000 youths were charged under the YCJA in 2015, including 35 who were charged with homicide. The decline in young offenders might be quantitative, but it appears that the serious crimes committed might be on the rise. While the numbers are too small to claim a trend, youth crime remains a serious problem.
If You Have Been Charged Under the Youth Offenders Act in the Calgary area, Contact the Lawyers of Bourdon Defence
If you have been charged with a crime under the Youth Offenders Act in Calgary or surrounding Alberta, you need a lawyer who will advocate for your rights. The lawyers of Bourdon Defence can help. Call us today at (403) 474-4143 or contact us through our website.