Prosecutors in Dubai have urged parents to be more involved in their children's lives and to monitor their activities as crimes committed by teenagers is on the rise.
Dubai’s juvenile prosecution said it had dealt with 162 cases involving 241 teenagers since the start of the year.
That is up about 17 per cent from 138 cases last year, involving 201 teenagers.
Those who committed the crimes were aged between 13 and 18. They were mostly boys but 20 girls were also involved.
“Fights, assaults, traffic offences and consuming drugs were the most common crimes,” said Mohammed Ali Rustom, Dubai's Advocate General and head of the emirate's family and juvenile prosecution.
When it comes to traffic cases, the most common offence was driving without a licence.
“So far this year, we have dealt with 38 cases involving teens committing driving offences,” he said.
“In all cases, children drove without a licence and some resulted in a crash.”
Mr Rustom said teenagers are curious and without supervision they may take a car out on the roads.
He urged parents to ensure car keys are not accessible to them.
“Parents should educate their children on the dangers of underage driving and without a licence,” he said.
“If investigations prove parents were negligent, they could face charges because negligence is considered a cause of the accident.”
There were also eight cases of consuming drugs.
“Bad friends are the root cause in drugs cases,” Mr Rustom said, adding that parental negligence and curiosity can also play a role.
He said teenagers involved in drug cases have to undergo an assessment.
Mr Rustom added that authorities want to help children and their ‘My Child Knows the Law’ initiative teaches them about their rights and how to protect themselves from threats and delinquency.
The scheme targets children between four and 12 years. Another initiative, Nibras, tackles juvenile crimes, including drug use. Children are briefed on what the law says and familiarises them with investigation and court proceedings, which can also serve as a deterrent.
“With our latest scheme, we decided to start earlier with younger children so that they grow up into better-behaving teens.”