16 Jan 2003

American Samoan official says better truancy enforcement would solve many crime problems

11:36 am on 16 January 2003

The Assistant Attorney General in American Samoa, Falefatu Alailima-Utu, says weak enforcement of truancy laws has contributed to many social problems involving young people.

Mr Alailima-Utu says truancy is one of the root causes of increasing youth crimes such as under-age drinking, drug-use, disturbing the peace and burglaries.

He says it's an area that educators, parents and police should tackle.

Mr Alailima-Utu says the alcohol laws should be enforced so that stores are punished for selling alcohol to minors.

Mr Alailima-Utu says the marked increase in crimes involving young people and great strides in the prosecution of drunk drivers are the two things that stand out in his 13 years as a prosecutor in the Attorney General's Office.

He leaves the post on January the 21st to take up a new position as legal counsel for the Development Bank of American Samoa.