YOUTH crime is really a growing problem in the country and is dominating national headlines, particularly with stories of drug and substance abuse by the youths across the media.
So dire is the situation that more than half of the youths’ population, about 57 percent in Zimbabwe, are involved in drug abuse despite measures implemented by various stakeholders to fight the pandemic.
There has also been a steep increase in youth committing unlawful entry and unlawful use of motor vehicle offences.
Depending on the age of the young person, there is always a range of options for dealing with offending with incarceration being one of them apparently to deter future crimes or delinquency by the youths.
A 15-year-old boy from Plumtree who embarked on a spate of criminal activities recently hung his head in shame as magistrate Joshua Nembaware admonished his “atrocious” criminal record and behaviour.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has a two-page criminal record, which showed that he was being charged with three counts of theft and one for illegal possession of cannabis (mbanje).
He pleaded guilty to all the four counts and the magistrate sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment of which three months were suspended for a period of five years on condition that he does not within that period commit any offence of which dishonesty is an element for which upon conviction he will be sentenced to imprisonment without the option of a fine.
A further three months were suspended on condition that he restitutes the complainants R850 and R200 respectively before 30 November
He was slapped with an effective six months jail term and the probation officer recommended that he be incarcerated at Whawha Juvenile Prison for his rehabilitation.
During sentencing, the court heard that on 21 September and at around 4pm Kenneth Chabaya, a police officer left his service bicycle outside his house before the boy took it and went away unnoticed.
When Chabaya wanted to take it inside the house that is when he realised that it had been stolen.
He then searched for the bicycle by tracking its tyre marks and it led him to Dingumuzi Shops where he found it with the accused.
The court heard that on 25 September some police officers who were on patrol became suspicious when they met the boy that he was abusing drugs and before they stopped him and searched him.
During the search they found him in possession of one twist of dagga and was subsequently arrested.
Following his arrest it emerged that on an unknown date but sometime in December 2022 the accused entered into his aunt’s house and stole R150.
During the same month, the court further heard that he also stole his aunt’s two dogs and sold them.
It was also discovered that sometime in March 2023 the accused ran away from his aunt’s home to stay in the bush.
It is reported that during his aunt’s absence he went to her house and stole six chickens from the fowl run and sold them.
Voster Makuwerere appeared for the State.