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Frustration mounts over youth crime

Victims look to parents for support

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (Aug 21/02) - Frustration is mounting over crime committed by Rankin's youth.

Kathleen Irwin, a 14-year resident of Rankin, had her ATV stolen from in front of her workplace earlier this month.

NNSL Photo

Kathleen Irwin of Rankin Inlet sits on her ATV, which was stolen from in front of her workplace by local youth earlier this month. The culprits also decided to gut the inside of her helmet for good measure. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Irwin borrowed a vehicle and, a short time later, spotted three kids heading towards Area 6 on her ATV.

The youthful bandits try to lose her in the fog, but were eventually forced to stop.

"I had my say with them and made them walk home before going to speak to the parents," says Irwin.

The next day, Irwin was told her machine had been repeatedly rammed into the ball-park fence.

She was also told where to find her helmets and other equipment on the ATV at the time it was stolen.

Still missing a number of keys, Irwin went back to visit the parents of the girl, who was described as the ringleader in the affair.

"The girl was at a teenage dance and all I got from the parents was a collective shrug of their shoulders," Irwin says. "They more or less told me she doesn't have the keys, so just go away.

"These kids were only 10 or 11 years old. I thought I was doing the right thing by not going to the police. The parents lack of concern over the whole affair was so frustrating."

Canon Paul Williams knows Irwin's frustration all too well.

A rash of break-ins have occurred at his church and the Deacon's Cupboard food bank.

"We had a break-in at the church earlier this summer which was just plain destruction," says Williams.

"The police are still looking for the individuals involved in that, but most of the breaks are aimed at the food bank."

Williams says he's convinced the break-ins at the Deacon's Cupboard were done by kids because of the items taken and food actually consumed on the premises.

"On occasion, they have broken into the clothing section to see what's there, but usually they take whatever junk food appeals to them, make a mess and use the building as a personal little playground."

Williams says the police can only do so much and that's only after the fact.

He says when it comes to stopping this type of behaviour, that responsibility rests with the parents.

"Essentially, the kids who are doing this are stealing from the community. The less fortunate in the community are hurt by this, who, if not for the Deacon's Cupboard, would never be able to have most of these items."