Teen Vandalism


Recently my neighborhood was hit by a series of break-ins. It is unfortunate how such an incident changes things. The neighborhood is pretty stable, most of us having lived here for a long time. It is a “nice” neighborhood. Surely the intrusion, the theft and the damage was the result of some nasty characters from the big city, bent on disrupting the harmony of a peaceful suburb.

Not so. It seems these are individuals known to the police. They live amongst us, closer than we may think. Who are they? They are somebody’s children.

My first question naturally, is to wonder at the parents who are unaware that their children are wandering the streets in the middle of the night. They know what their kids are up to, because these individuals have been picked up by the police on numerous occasions. Give these kids a curfew. Set an alarm to wake you in the middle of the night so you can do a bed check.

If the child is out of control, and will not respond to rules and boundaries, get professional help or join a “Tough Love” group. The police are doing what they can, but the justice system is too lenient, and these kids are not being deterred by the legal consequences. If an individual had a dog who posed a threat to others, we would expect the owner to make sure the animal was prevented from doing harm. If a home owner lets noxious weeds get out of control, there are bylaws to force the owner to bring them under control. Clearly, it should be the parent’s responsibility to ensure their children are not out stealing and vandalizing their neighbors’ property.

Certainly there are parents who are doing all they can and are at their wit’s end with their delinquent children. Others, however, are not vigilant enough. How is it that the same ones are regularly roaming the streets after midnight? Likely there are drugs involved. These things can only happen when there is insufficient supervision and awareness about where children are, who their friends are, and what they are doing.

This is a growing problem amongst youth, and parents must be aware. If your child comes home with belongings that clearly were not purchased, track down the source. If there is not a legitimate explanation that you have verified, call the police and ask if any such articles have been reported stolen.

If your child is purchasing items which he or she is unlikely able to afford, or always seems to have money that does not come from employment, consider the possibility that he or she is selling drugs. Do not be naive. Drug dealers are not just burly men with black jackets and tattoos. They are junior and senior high school students who have a source, and buy for their friends. They earn a lot of money this way, and do not consider themselves “dealers” because they are just selling to friends.

The friends, of course, often cannot afford the drugs, so scrounge the neighborhood looking for money or valuables. If you think your child is involved in drugs, talk with the police. They can be very helpful as they know a lot more about what is going on in the community, and which kids are doing what than even many of the kids do.

Let’s do everything we can to help the police to keep our communities safe and secure for all. It is our responsibility to do so.

Copyright © Gwen Randall-Young, All Rights Reserved. Contact us if you would like permission to reprint.

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