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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

More Minors Breaking the Law, Top Cop Says

More minors are breaking the law, and their crimes are growing crueler, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev told Duma deputies on Wednesday.

Nurgaliyev said that last year, 150,000 youths under 16 committed crimes, including 1,200 murders, 3,300 assaults and 18,000 robberies. The number of girls who broke the law increased to 13,000, he said, without providing comparative figures.

"All serious crimes are committed, as a rule, in a group, and are noticeable for their high level of cruelty," he said. "This dangerous tendency has in no way changed for the better in the past few years."

Many minors committed crimes to obtain money to gamble, he said.

Nurgaliyev said 6,000 teenagers had criminal records connected to extremist activities and most of them lived near the cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Rostov, Samara, Voronezh, Murmansk and Nizhny Novgorod.

Nurgaliyev called for stiffer penalties for those convicted of promoting extremist ideas among minors.

Extremism has drawn the attention of leading government officials. "You can easily find cassettes, documents and Internet sites that spread extremist ideas," he said.

The interior minister also said that about 100,000 minors were alcoholics or drug users and urged deputies to pass legislation to limit the sale of alcohol to minors.

Last year, he said, police registered 175,000 crimes against minors, and 3,000 children went missing.

Some 24,000 runaways were detained, and 11,000 were sent home. About 2,500 of the runaways came from former Soviet republics, he said.

The Duma is to consider legislation on May 26 to improve cooperation with other former Soviet republics in dealing with runaways.