Top cop says computer games lead to killing of couple
The horrific deaths of a Brisbane couple walking their dogs on Australia Day has broken hearts across the country as questions persist about the suspected young offender's bail conditions at the time of the incident.
The Palaszczuk government has said it will consider tougher bail for young criminals but Queensland's assistant police commissioner heaped the blame on exposure to violent computer games for what some have declared a "youth crime epidemic".
In response to a growing community of young offenders brazenly gloating on social media about criminal activities, assistant commissioner Brian Codd said many of the repeat criminals didn't take the law seriously.
The debate has raged following the tragic death of expecting mother Kate Leadbetter, 31, and partner Matty Field, 37, who were fatally struck by an allegedly stolen LandCruiser on Tuesday.
According to police, a 17-year-old, alleged to have been behind the wheel of the 4WD, fled the scene on foot but was later apprehended. He has since been charged with the couple's murder and a raft of driving offences.
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Clearly emotional and exasperated by the tragic circumstances, assistant commissioner Codd pleaded with Queensland families to keep an eye on the violent content their children were consuming.
"We've got some young people that are reared on a diet of movies and computer games that seem to belittle the value of human life," he told reporters on Thursday.
"We see them playing games and watching movies et cetera where cars can crash and roll several times and someone can get out and walk out.
"And somehow they think that's normal and it's not real. Travelling along a road at excessive speeds in a 2.7 tonne vehicle, while intoxicated and then through a red light.
"To somehow consider that could happen and for it to not potentially result in the loss of life is ridiculous.
"And I think we all have a responsibility to challenge these assumptions right through their lives."
Police and Correctives Services Minister Mark Ryan was equally emotional and exasperated at the same press conference, declaring the total number of youth offenders had fallen by 30 per cent over the past 10 years.
"What we've seen though in recent times is a very small cohort, I call them the hardnuts, who are actually committing more crime," he said.
Mr Ryan spoke about the pathway into crime being complex, featuring nuanced issues such as family violence, family trauma or an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
But he also pleaded with Queensland families to help law enforcement create a positive and constructive environment for their children.
"All of us - all families, all communities - need to make sure that we're providing good guidance for young people," the minister said.
"It's as much about community setting standards as it is about family setting standards as well."
Mr Ryan reinforced the assistant commissioner's concern about the impact of violent movies and computer games.
"There needs to be those honest conversations in the community with parents and their families around the types of experiences you want your kids to have at certain times in their lives," he said.
"This is not about government getting into people's households but if you love your kids, have a look at what they're doing.
"Keep an eye on your kids. If they're engaging in conduct you think might be contrary to them being good citizens, have a conversation with them."
Originally published as Leftfield warning in wake of tragedy