Juvenile Crime Rates

By: Clarissa Stephens Email
By: Clarissa Stephens Email

The office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention officials say most juvenile crime occurs during non-school days. With summer quickly approaching, the instances of criminal activity increases.

School will be out soon, which means kids will have a lot of extra time of their hands.

It's what many kids choose to do with that free time, that's posing a dangerous threat.

"Anytime you have a lack of supervision or children out roaming loose, you see an increase in crime such as thefts and criminal mischief,” said Sgt. Stacy Robinson, Juvenile Division. “We see an increase in the victimization of children when they're left unattended."

Police say this is especially true for what they call, "latch key kids"; kids coming and going from home without parental supervision.

Officials say the time of criminal behavior peeks before and after school, and on the weekends.

"One of the things most people don't realize is that 80% of all juvenile crimes take place between 3 o'clock and 6PM. That's a time where kids need somebody, some structured activities that will keep them out of trouble," said Lance Wave of Wiregrass Boys & Girls Club.

With five clubs, serving more than 3,000 kids annually, the Wiregrass Boys and Girls Club is the largest provider of youth services in the area.

Last year, 267 participated in summer programs.

Brandon Bryant was on of those kids, and says it helped keep him off the street.

Bryant said, "It just gave me a lot of options and kept me from being out there on the streets. I think the Boys and Girls Club helps a lot of youth."

Police say another big problem they see during the summer months, is a spike in underage alcohol and drug abuse.

Officials say making the investment in positive programs that educate and entertain youth will help to curb this ongoing problem.

There are a variety of options available in the Wiregrass.

Boys & Girls Club officials say space is limited in its program. You can register for the summer programs by calling the club at 792-8787.

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