A new report shows the number of attempted murders, serious assaults, robberies and threats fell by 22% in 2009/10, – a 31% drop since 2007/2008.
This means anti-social behaviour – such as gang violence and knife crime in neighbourhoods throughout the city – is steadily declining.
As revealed in the Evening Times in December, police chiefs put a drop in youth crime down to the increase in the number of officers on the streets and youth workers.
Our special Crime On Our Streets investigation last year revealed the city was beginning to win its overall war on crime with most serious non-sexual violent crimes down by 14% in 2008/09.
The city council’s Youth Justice Services’ findings highlighted the improving picture on youth crime.
The overall number of offences committed by under 18s in the city fell by 7% over the course of one year.
In 2009/10, 11,895 offences were committed by young people in Glasgow.
This is a drop of 7% on the previous year and 15% over two years.
A 35% reduction in the number of offence referrals to the Children’s Reporter since 2006/2007 adds to the downward trend.
Support programmes including Intensive Support and Monitoring (ISMS) and Forensic Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service are seen as being the key to reducing youth crime, as well as an increased police presence on our streets.
The Youth Justice Strategy Group, which is made up of representatives from the city council’s education and social work services, health, police, the Children’s Reporter and the Procurator Fiscal among others, deliver these services.
Councillor Matt Kerr, executive member for Social Care, welcomed the continuing improvement in the crime figures among Glasgow’s young community, but vowed to keep tackling the issue.
He said: “These figures show that Glasgow is becoming a safer city, both for young people and the wider community.
“We are seeing increasingly positive outcomes for young people who were being drawn into offending and a big part of that is down to the hard work of the young people themselves and their families.
“But this is not a finished project and we will continue to develop new services which will challenge the small minority of young people who commit crime in Glasgow and create misery in their communities.”
Sean McKendrick, head of the city’s criminal justice department, said the figures “speak for themselves”.
He said: “What they tell us is there has been another significant reduction in youth crime and I think it rests on the much more integrated approach we’ve taken to try and deliver services for young people and the work undertaken by young people and their families themselves. We hope this will be an ongoing trend.”
Donna Straton, team leader for intensive support and monitoring within youth justice, said: “We’ve seen young men who are heavily involved with gang violence and some have pro-criminal families too so it’s difficult to escape the cycle.
“We’re able to work with them to help them get out of this. All the youth justice services and our partner agencies are able to offer both young men and women a way out.”
The report, which analysed data from Strathclyde Police, also showed crimes involving the possession of offensive weapons or drugs, housebreaking or theft and fireraising had declined.
However there was an increase in crimes of indecency – from 39 to 48 offences – between last year and the current year.
Across the two-year period, crimes of indecency fell by one-fifth.
Superintendent Derek Robertson, head of Safer Communities at Strathclyde Police, called the youth crime figures “encouraging.” But he added: “Strathclyde Police will continue to work tirelessly with our partners to ensure that young people are diverted from such practices and their potential is maximised within the local community.
“Early and effective intervention is a productive, tailored approach to deliver such improvements for a safer Glasgow.”
Clean-up plan for criminals
New powers which will make low-level criminals clean up damaged communities across Scotland have come into force.
According to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, community payback orders will ensure offenders repay their debt to communities they targeted.
Mr MacAskill saw first-hand how the new legislation will improve communities on a visit to Johnstone, Renfrewshire.
He watched a group of young offenders clear a former drinking den which had become strewn with litter and bottles.
Mr MacAskill said: “We want to see low-level offenders paying back communities by doing some tough manual labour.”
One young offender said: “I think this is a much better punishment than just being sent to jail and left to get on with it.”
However, Labour described the plans as “a dark day for Scottish justice”, saying they would keep violent offenders out of prison.
Labour justice spokesman Richard Baker said the scheme is “little more than a ‘get out of jail free card’” for “dangerous and violent criminals.”
He added: “I fear it is only a matter of time before one of these offenders goes on to even more serious offences.
“No wonder Scotland is sick to the back teeth of the SNP’s soft-touch approach to justice and want change. Scots deserve better.”