This paper explores the meanings that youth crime and policing acquire in the context of their mediated representation on the televised news in Nicaragua. In particular, it explores this question by juxtaposing the televised imagery of the apprehended juvenile delinquent with the discursive treatment of his person by both police and reporters on Nicaragua's most watched news shows, Acción 10 and Crónica TN8. The police are presented as heroic protagonists who serve and protect the barrio through ‘communitarian policing’ whilst the juvenile delinquent – the ‘pinta’ – is excluded and stigmatised. This turns such youths into socially expendable and ‘tainted, discounted’ outsiders who can be treated as such. In this way, through the news, pintas are targeted for ‘removal’ from the barrio, and their mediated arrests become ‘spectacular performances’ of community. A discrepancy appears, then, between the police's communitarian discourse and its reactionary practice.