The recent spike in carjackings in Toronto has raised concerns about youth delinquency in the city. According to a report from Global News, a group of teenagers has been arrested and charged with multiple counts of carjacking and robbery spanning from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4. The incidents have left many residents worried about their safety and wondering what is causing this sudden increase in criminal activity.
To better understand the issue, we reached out to Professor James Sheptycki from the department of criminology at York University. Sheptycki believes that spikes in youth delinquency are indicators of societal neglect of young people. He suggests that poor funding for schools, recreation centers, public swimming pools, public libraries, and other facilities that help build strong communities could be contributing to the increase in carjackings.
“This is one indicator of the fraying social bonds that hold Canadian society together and it suggests that, as the country adapts to the new war economy, things may become worse as this cohort of young people enter into early adulthood,” Sheptycki says.
The recent arrests of the group of teenagers involved in the carjackings have led to questions about what can be done to address the issue. Sheptycki believes that approaching issues from a punishment standpoint is not the answer. Instead, he suggests that criminal delinquency is an anti-social reaction formed by alienated youth that can become self-perpetuating in the absence of opportunities for positive social engagement.
“My guess is that this issue will be used to stoke general feelings of punitiveness until some other one comes along, and I sincerely doubt that any positive policy outcomes from authorities are on the horizon,” Sheptycki says. “The situation calls for a politically involved pro-social movement of young people to address not only social symptoms like this, but all of the other issues that indicate the corrosion of public life.”
It is clear that the issue of carjacking and youth delinquency is a complex one. While there may be no easy solutions, it is important that policymakers and community leaders work together to address the root causes of the problem. This includes investing in programs and services that provide opportunities for positive social engagement for young people.
Residents of Toronto are being urged to be vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves from becoming victims of carjackings. Police have advised residents to be aware of their surroundings, keep car doors locked, and avoid leaving valuables in plain sight.