Author`s name Pravda.Ru

School's out: teen crime on the rise

The Russian Interior Ministry is currently conducting measures as part of the nationwide Operation Teenager to inform the younger generation about the dangers of crime.

The ministry decided to launch the operation in view of concerns about the growing number of the teenagers getting into trouble with the law. In particular, teenagers committed over 50,000 offences in the first few months of this year alone. A rise in teen crime has been registered in Moscow, the Altai Republic, the Krasnodar and Khabarovsk territories, and the Magadan region.

The problem is especially acute in the summer. The Interior Ministry's agencies have registered 363,000 teen offenders, including over 7,000 teenagers using drugs and psychotropic substances and over 12,000 abusing other forms of toxic substances. Therefore, one of the first stages of Operation Teenager sought to identify instances when adults attract minors into criminal networks involved in trafficking, dealing and using drugs. The agencies working in this area now include committees for the minors' affairs, local bodies working in the spheres of social protection, education and health, and various public organisations.

Vladimir Golubovsky, deputy chief of the ministry's central department for public law and order, said in a RIA Novosti interview that the police had carried out special raids at railway stations and nearby areas, underground stations, markets and discos. According to the Moscow law and order department's information, the city's police officers have exposed adults who let people, including minors, use their premises for drug taking.

More than 1,300 school inspectors from the Russian police have recently seen a noticeable increase in their workload. The point is that city summer camps have been set up at some secondary schools. The inspectors focus on teaching students about the law, working with parents who care little about children's upbringing and influence them only negatively, warning about the dangers of drinking and drugs, and preventing teen crime. Apart from health camps, hundreds of military-sports summer bases have been established, mostly for children from low-income families and minors registered with Interior Ministry bodies.

A special group of problem teens have joined military units and, alongside adults, do "military service" and receive an education at the same time. They spend their vacations in out-of-town camps during summer training sessions with servicemen. At present, over 400 minors are staying with 55 military units. As part of the Operation Teenager, strict control has been imposed on popular holiday destinations, such as Caucasian mineral springs and the Black Sea coast, resorts, hotels and sanatoriums in the Russian Federation's regions and republics.

The last, August, stage of the Operation Teenager is called "Family". Its main objective is to expose cases of cruelty against children by their parents or guardians, as well as establish control over dysfunctional families to help them prepare children for school. At present, there are 173,000 dysfunctional parents registered with Interior Ministry bodies in this country.

Vyacheslav Lashkul