Alarming Rise in Sex Crimes Committed by Teens

Crimes committed by teenagers are growing and becoming more brutal. According to a crime white paper compiled by the Supreme Public Prosecutor's Office, the number of minors booked on charges of murder, rape, robbery and arson more than doubled from 1,549 in 2005 to 3,106 in 2010.

Rape is a particularly bad problem. In 2005, 752 minors were booked on charges of rape, which surged 180 percent to 2,107 in 2010, the biggest increase among the four types of violent crime.

For robbery, the number rose from 696 to 819 and for arson from 77 to 161. The murder rate remained largely unchanged.

Sex crimes committed by minors against other minors increased the most. According to a legal almanac published by the Supreme Court, the number of minors tried in court for sex crimes tripled from 537 in 2002 to 1,695 in 2011 and the number of victims between 13 to 18 rose ten-fold from 60 to 690.

This contrasts with the relatively slow rise among adults booked for sex crimes against other adults over the same period, which rose from 1,981 in 2002 to 2,337 in 2011.

The number of minors tried in court for assault and injury rose from 217 in 2002 to 1,487 in 2011, roughly a six-fold increase, while the minor assault rose from 126 in 2002 to 820 in 2011.

"As sex crimes or other violent crimes committed by youngsters increase, more teens are being tried in criminal courts rather than family courts and being sent to prison," a court official said. "We need a better safety net now it has become easier for teens to be exposed to factors that cause crime, such as violent or pornographic movies, and as more and more families break up." 

englishnews@chosun.com / Oct. 15, 2012 08:22 KST