An attempt to raise the criminal responsibility age from 10 to 14 years will not help fight Wagga's juvenile offending rate, according to the city's anti-crime leaders.
Centre Alliance MP Rebekha Sharkie put a private members bill to federal parliament on Monday that, if passed, would prevent authorities from criminally prosecuting anyone aged under 14.
In NSW, the criminal proceedings law states that "no child who is under the age of 10 years can be guilty of an offence" and all other states and territories have similar statutes.
Wagga council Crime Prevention Working group youth member, Thomas Gardiner, aged 19, said raising the criminal age was a "stupid idea" and would remove the police force's ability to prevent youth crime.
"There are proven statistics of kids between 10 and 14 that have committed crimes and they should be held responsible," he said.
"Any child of 10 and 11 should not be out by themselves, it just comes down to common-sense parenting.
"Definitely for repeat offenders, there should be some sort of punishment; not necessarily juvenile detention just more programs to help them get back on track."
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, more than 55 per cent of offenders accused of break and enter within the Wagga Local Government Area were aged between 10 and 17 years.
Juvenile offenders made up 45 per cent of accused motor vehicle theft offenders. and nearly 24 per cent of those accused of assault and stealing from retail store offences.
Ms Sharkie told Parliament on Monday that Australia's age of criminal responsibility was higher than in most European countries, Canada, Scotland, Russia and China.
"Children under the age of 14 are making decisions using the part of the brain that is connected to emotions and aggression, and are unlikely to comprehend the consequences of their actions," she said.
"That is why we do not let 10-year-old children drive cars, drink alcohol, have a Facebook account or vote. We imposed these limits because we as a society decided that young children are not capable of making rational decisions.
"We accept the medical evidence that says the brain development of young children limits their capacity. And yet, as the law currently stands, we can hold a 10-year-old child criminally responsible for their actions. We can, and, sadly, we do."
Ms Sharkie's legislation has gained support from crossbench MPs.
Amnesty International and the Law Council of Australia have also argued for the need to keep young children out of the juvenile detention system, which they say has a disproportionate population of Indigenous children.
Nationals Riverina MP Michael McCormack said the bill as presented to Parliament would prevent any person under the age of 14 from being prosecuted, regardless of how serious the offence was.
"At a time when the local community is calling out for more to be done to deter juveniles torching cars and undertaking other serious offences, I am sure the introduction of today's private member's bill would not be met with support from many of the victims of youth crime," he said.
Wagga Neighbourhood Watch president Wayne Deaner said youth crime would get "even more out of control" in the city if children aged under 14 could not be charged.
"Even though they are in trouble, being involved in the justice system gives them more of a chance to seek help," he said.
"It's better if we can turn them around before the age of 14, not starting at that age."
Mr Deaner said there "absolutely" were property crimes being committed in Wagga by offenders aged between 10 and 14.