About 100 families in Perth's worst crime district have been deemed as needing a high level of intervention and 20 are in such critical situations they receive daily police attention.
Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan yesterday revealed the statistics in a bid to improve understanding of the complex problems encountered by police which, he said, could not be fixed just with tough penalties and more police.
The situation has prompted police to try a new strategy in the south-east metropolitan district, where from Monday 200 officers will focus on dealing with dysfunctional families, rather than responding to routine calls for help.
Mr O'Callaghan said the district had been chosen for the trial because it was the busiest in the State in terms of reported crime.
In an opinion piece in today's _The Weekend West _, Mr O'Callaghan highlighted the cases of two WA teenagers who had already amassed more than a dozen criminal charges each by age 15.
In a sad indictment of their backgrounds, one of those children, "Sally", had parents who had been charged by police more than 300 times, abused drugs and alcohol and had mental health issues.
Her father was also listed as having been abused in State care.
Her maternal aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings had criminal records while her youngest sister, aged just three, was listed as being a victim of crime 12 times.
During the trial, police will work with other agencies to link families to services.
Save the Children WA Aboriginal services co-ordinator Karina Chicote said the new strategy could create opportunities for at-risk youth to have positive relationships with officers.
She agreed it was important to work with families to break the cycle of offending.