Crime prevention to focus on youth

  • 2001-12-13
  • Aleksei Gunter, TALLINN
The Estonian government will focus its crime prevention activities on the country's youth who, the minister of justice says, are a group highly vulnerable to becoming the perpetrators as well as the victims of crime.

"Children are the most easily influenced social group in both the good and the bad sense. It is not reasonable to wait until they fall under the control of bad friends or doubtful examples," said Mart Rask.

Next year a public campaign by the name of "A Child Makes a Conscious Citizen" will start up in seven Estonian schools, where local police will give a series of lectures and training sessions.

The plan, approved by Parliament on Dec. 11, considers the Justice, Interior, Social and Education ministries as the main operational forces, each with a specific task.

The Education Ministry will focus on reducing crime committed by young people, while the Justice Ministry will do its best to block repeat offenses and promote prevention work among the public.

The Social Ministry will provide information about aid services for crime victims throughout the country, and the Interior Ministry will continue informing people about how to protect their property as well as intensify security on the streets.

According to Interior Minister Tarmo Loodus, it's important for the police to get closer to ordinary people. Despite a plan set to reduce the number of police prefectures from 17 to six by 2003, the number of police patrols and district police officers will rise.

In the first six months of 2001, 28,992 crimes were registered in Estonia, which is 3,336 more than in the whole of 2000.