Italy to crack down on youth crime

Move follows spate of ‘baby gang’ crimes in Italy.

The Italian government on Thursday unveiled new measures to tackle juvenile crime following a series of high-profile crimes by “baby gangs” in Italy this summer.

The Caivano decree is named after a crime-ridden town near Naples which Italian premier Giorgia Meloni visited last week after two pre-teen girls were raped there by a gang of youths.

The decree, which was approved by the cabinet but requires final approval by parliament, will make it easier to arrest minors carrying weapons and stiffens the penalties for possession of arms and drug dealing.

The government says the decree includes a package of “precautionary” measures designed to dissuade minors from engaging in crime as well as providing them with pathways to “reintegration and re-education”.

Authorities will be able to confiscate smartphones from minors involved in crime as well as apply daspo banning orders from specific areas to teenagers as young as 14, whose parents or guardians will be notified, with the ban lasting up to one year.

Stressing that “nobody wants to throw 12-year-olds in jail”, Meloni said the measures are “preventative, not repressive” and are part of “a crackdown on youth crime, which is spreading like wildfire.”

Photo ANSA