Teenagers allegedly involved in a spate of aggravated robberies were part of a programme designed to get at-risk youth back on track.
Seven youths aged between 15 and 18 have been remanded in custody after being arrested for two robberies in Christchurch.
They have also been bragging on social media about their alleged offending.
Youth & Cultural Development general manager Anni Watkin confirmed some of those arrested were part of its programme.
YCD provides services to young people who are at-risk of or getting involved in an offending circle. It partners with Child Youth and Family, Police Youth Aid, the Ministry of Youth Development and Youth Court.
CCTV caught this image of teenager during an aggravated robbery at Woodham Rd Liquor Store last month
There have been about 10 aggravated robberies at businesses across the city since the start of August.
Detective Sergeant Daniel Isherwood said the seven arrested teenagers have only been charged in relation to two.
On August 29, The Star reported an organised group of youths were allegedly carrying out the similar robberies as part of an initiation to be in the group.
CCTV footage shows the offenders disguising themselves completely using clothing, armed with hammers and stealing cash, cigarettes, alcohol, and food.
Two of the teenagers arrested, both with a history of aggravated robbery offending, moved from Auckland to Christchurch and were not under any parental supervision.
Detective Sergeant Isherwood is concerned about the increase of teenagers getting involved in this type of crime to obtain money, by selling the stolen items.
"This has the potential to create a culture where this type of offending is normalised amongst their peers and as a result we have seen a spike in this type of offending," he said.
"Those who are pressured about getting involved in this type of crime need to think very carefully about the harm it causes to victims and the impact a conviction for aggravated robbery will have on their future," he said.
Watkin said the teenagers could not have planned the robberies they have been charged with at YCD, as they were not on the course together.
Services available to at-risk offenders are one-on-one and each young person is assigned a youth worker.
"Yes, these young people are being influenced by each other, but regardless of where they are, it's going to happen because young people are attracted to each other because of their behaviour and interests," she said.