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Syracuse’s youth car theft issues demand community programs, parental involvement

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It’s a thought that is running through many minds in the Syracuse area. Why do children keep stealing cars?

Specifically, Kia and Hyundai’s Syracuse has seen many people stealing these cars including Monday when four juveniles stole a Hyundai and were pursued through downtown Syracuse ending with the totaling of two cars.

CNY Central spoke with a lawyer and neighbors about what the legal system in New York can do to try and steer the youth away from this path.

Tom Setser, a lawyer from Tully Rinckey shared that when they defend underage youth who commit crimes like car theft, it is hard to steer them away from committing the crime again.

Setser says the solution to keep kids out of trouble may lie in community programs and the family working together. He said many of the defendants wear crimes like this as a badge of honor because crime is all around them.

Due to New York’s Raise-the-Age law passed in 2018, many of these offenders are arrested and then released the next day.

Setser thinks that trying children as adults for their crimes does not always scare kids straight. Most of the time he tries to work with the judge to get children the help they need.

“Your best bet is to try and get them involved in a program that could help instill discipline and responsibility in the youth. Unfortunately a lot of that is going to start at home and that’s why sometimes the family court may have something to get the whole family involved.”

When we went back to the scene of the crash we spoke to neighbors like Tieasha Muhammad-Bey to see what they think needs to be done to convince children to not commit these crimes.

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