As the old Alice Cooper song goes, “School’s out for summer.”
Unfortunately for us in this neighborhood that means an increase in vandelism.
Now, I’m no implying that all of this is being done by bored teenagers, but I can say that I’m guessing part of it is. During the last week or so, the kids have been wandering our streets later in the night, sometimes even after 11 PM. Groups of four or five can be overheard and seen laughing and joking as they carouse our neighborhood.
In the same amount of time, we’ve seen an increase in vandelism. A few street lights have been broken out, and now shattered glass litters the curb. Broken bottles and cigarette butts are stuck in the sand at our neighborhood park, remnants of some type of later-at-night get together. Sadly for our young children, the broken glass and butts are a hazard and so we will be driving to a new park for a while until things calm down.
We’ve found graffiti painted on a side wall and, last night, my husband’s car got broken into.
The car may not have been related to school being out, though the police seem to think it might have been kids hanging around, bored, with nothing to do. Not much was stolen. Instead, they left the car door and the car trunk open, almost everything inside it in tact.
So my question is, and always has been (even when I was a teenager and bored out of my mind), what can we do as parents and as neighbors to ensure that our teens have a place to go that is safe and fun, which means that the rest of our neighborhoods will remain safe and fun for everyone else?
Back in my day we would have gone rollerskating, ice skating, skiing or to a dance.
I’m not sure what they have out there now for teenagers as my girls are fairly young.
Also, if the kids are still living at home, shouldn’t curfew time be early enough that they can’t get into this type of trouble?
Maybe I’m naive, though. Again, I don’t have teenagers. I have no idea what an acceptable curfew time is, but I’d say looking at my kids, they’d be asked to be home by 10 at the latest. I can’t imagine that with that type of curfew they’d have time to bust out street lights or ransack a car.
I know what it is like to be a teenager and to have nothing to do. I think it is important as a city, as a community, that we pull together to ensure that our teenagers have a safe place to go. I love these all night roller skate parties, where the kids are locked inside, basically, unless a parent comes.
What about rotating movie parties at someone’s home?
Teenagers are notorious for getting into trouble, or finding things that can lead them into trouble. I think it is their curious and rebellious nature. Yet it is important that we take charge and give them activities to do that will help to keep them out of trouble.
We live in a nice neighborhood where people take pride in their homes and their lawns, so it is surprising to me that this has happened.
If you have some ideas about how readers can get the community involved to keep the children safe and busy during the summer evenings, please write in or email. I’ll share in a later column.
For now, we’ll just make sure that everything in and around our house is nailed down or set to an alarm.