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Sask. youth crime rate higher than any other Canadian province

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan youth crime on the rise'
Saskatchewan youth crime on the rise
WATCH ABOVE: Statistics Canada says while youth crime rates are decreasing across the country, Saskatchewan is bucking the trend. Ryan Kessler takes a look at what is being done to combat those numbers – Feb 17, 2016

SASKATOON – A new report from Statistics Canada shows Saskatchewan had the highest youth crime rate among Canadian provinces in 2014. For every 100,000 people aged 12 to 17, Saskatchewan had 13,084 young people accused of a non-traffic crime – more than triple the national rate.

“We have to really look at ourselves as a society and say what are we doing for young people? What are we really doing for young people?” said Don Meikle, executive of EGADZ, a Saskatoon organization providing drop-in and outreach services for at-risk youth.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan aboriginals more likely to be homicide victims

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Meikle said he was concerned, but not surprised, by Wednesday’s findings from Statistics Canada.

The data for 2014 – the most recent available – also showed 2,458 Saskatchewan youth were accused of violent crimes, compared to 1,281 for every 100,000 people in Canada.

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“We’ve got to make kids’ lives better and I think we’ve fallen short,” Meikle said.

Minor offences like theft under $5,000, mischief, common assault and cannabis possession were listed as the most common crimes committed by youth, according to Statistics Canada.

The data shows police-reported youth crime decreasing faster than the overall crime rate in Canada.

“Manitoba and Saskatchewan are traditionally very high on youth crime statistics. We have very young populations in both provinces,” said Ernie Louttit, a retired police officer who spent 27 years with the Saskatoon Police Service.

However, Louttit said young people are more likely to change their ways, compared to older offenders.

“It’s an investment if you treat a kid right,” Louttit said.

Each of the territories reported higher crime rates for youth, young adults and older adults than any of the provinces.

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