The fight against youth violence

Should we be worried about the increasing trend of violent youth crimes?

Anna Fernandez

Published: 2 September 2016, 1:46 PM

An increasing spate of violent youth crimes has surfaced in the news over the past few months.

In this month alone, six cases of youths being charged or sentenced for their violent crimes – ranging from attempted rape to fatal assaults – were reported in the media.

What’s going on?

On Monday, Marcus Yow Kai Wen, 18 was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of eight years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to a charge of attempted rape. He had committed the offence while on probation for randomly attacking four women.

Another case of youth violence involved 19-year-old Jeron Liew Wei Jie, who was sentenced to eight years and six months in jail and 24 strokes of the cane for fatally assaulting his victim, Kelvin Gan Teck Xiang, who later died of his injuries.

General reactions by netizens towards such youth crimes showed intolerance with such behaviour. Others called for harsher punishment on these offenders.



The number of youths arrested for rioting increased by 39 in 2014, up from 283 in 2013. Despite the slight dip in youth crimes in 2015, more youths seem to be resorting to violence this year.

Besides meting out harsher punishment, the increase in aggressive behaviour has raised concern among some youths. Some feel that more should be done to help youth offenders get back on the right track.

Undergraduate Bryan Wong, 25, said: “There should be steps taken to provide these youths with proper rehabilitation and counselling. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. If at such a young age, they are already so aggressive and exhibiting such behaviour, who knows what they will be like as adults?”

Some have attributed such behaviour to the influence of their parents and peers.

Bryan added: “I think it all goes back to upbringing and whether you are taught proper ways of behaving, or if you pick up on the negative ones from your peers. Parents or adult role models play a major part in this.”


On the other hand, others seem to see these incidents as extreme cases that are not representative of youth behaviour.

Undergraduate Sharlene Wee, 22, said: “Despite the recent cases of youth crimes, I don’t think there’s an increase in violent behaviour among youths in general. It’s not a case of one bad apple spoiling the entire barrel. As young adults, we are all capable of making our own decisions and bearing the consequences of our actions.”

She added: “I think youths nowadays are very self-aware. We think before we act because we know that our actions affect the people around us.”

What’s your take?

  1. Have you ever experienced or witnessed youth violence? Share with us.
  2. What would be the best way to manage your emotions, especially when you are feeling angry with someone or with a situation?
  3. What else can be done to curb such violent behaviour in youths?

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