Danger! Danger! Juveniles Wandering!

Hi Readers — One of you sent this in. We are living in scary times,indeed!

From our local police blotter:

  • Petty theft from unlocked vehicle on Coventry Road.
  • A resident reported juveniles wandering the street on Ocean View Avenue.
  • In a lucky find, the owner of a stolen vehicle from Coventry Road found it in Emeryville, and drove it home to Kensington.

Sigh.

65 Responses

  1. So what? I think it’s worth it for people to call in something that just doesn’t seem right to them. Depending on the location, time, number of kids, this might be a very worthwhile thing for someone to check out. Could be nothing or could be what I sometimes saw as a teacher. Large groups of kids gathering up for no apparent reason made the staff look for a fight to break out.

    While I think this blog is a good read, interesting, and more often than not has a valid point, there’s got to be a balance between assuming everything is fine and everything is wrong. I think it was often the case in the past (and sometimes even now) that people would turn a blind eye to children in need or potential danger and assume it wasn’t their business or someone else would handle it. I’m glad to see people step up and investigate when they wonder if all is right with a situation. It’s often a tough call, but some of the recent posts and comments skewering overly cautious adults seem to be as extreme as the situations described.

  2. Since when is it a crime for a kid to walk down the street?

  3. People amaze me….

  4. Kids should never be allowed to rob, rape, pillage and commit acts of interpersonal violence. Neither should adults be so allowed. On the other hand, kids should get out of the house and discover the world on their own. The problems start happening when inequalities of wealth start becoming sharper. http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/breaking/9067237/children-charged-over-sex-attacks/

  5. “Since when is it a crime for a kid to walk down the street?”

    These are reports, not crimes charged. And they’re expressed in a sort of shorthand. No one can derive from these notes what was actually seen — was it a menacing looking gang of kids congregating in a place known for juvenile crime? Or was it a kid or two wandering around attracting the notice of some busybody? We can’t tell, we shouldn’t assume what the person who reported it saw *or* what they were thinking, and we don’t know how the police responded.

  6. Can we assume that “juveniles” is a codeword for black kids? Something tells me that a group of strapping young white lads would not elicit a call to police.

  7. “Something tells me that a group of strapping young white lads would not elicit a call to police.”

    Something tells me you’ve never seen a scary looking group of strapping young white kids.

  8. I’m commenting from our vacation at Disney World. There are juveniles wandering everywhere! I’m pushing our dresser in front of the door! I had no idea it was so dangerous here.

  9. ““Something tells me that a group of strapping young white lads would not elicit a call to police.”

    Something tells me you’ve never seen a scary looking group of strapping young white kids.”

    You get a group of highschool to college age white kids who have helicopter parents and are rebelling, it can look like somebody’s remaking The Road Warrior. Mostly harmless, but there have been exceptions.

  10. We have had numerous cases in our state of parents being arrested and imprisoned for child neglect and abuse solely because their children were either playing in the yard unsupervised, or were walking down the street in a residential neighborhood.

  11. I was going to try to find some articles on this and there was actually one that happened just today.

    http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/News/article.php?id=88269

    Mom is taking a nap. Toddler opens door and wanders out and is standing in the road. Neighbor calls 911. Police bring in dogs to search for parent’s house which is of course right there. Parent is arrested and taken to jail. Toddler and baby are put into foster care.

    Now in this case, should toddlers be allowed to wander in the road? No of course not. But some of them can be crafty and open up any locked door, I certainly did so when I was that age and would go wandering. As you can see on the satellite photo, this street is on a loop out off of a road in a rural area out in the middle of nowhere where there is little traffic.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=John+Alfred+Loop+Elizabethton+TN&ll=36.407554,-82.093084&spn=0.012503,0.015192&z=16

  12. Oh I forgot one of the points of that. These parents usually plead guilty to neglect in return for abuse charges being dropped because they know a jury trial is this state would convict them and sentence them to death if possible for allowing a precious angel to leave the safe house where there is TV and pop tarts.

    From the comments in that article is a typical reaction to these news articles, “Really Lady you need to be slapped for your poor attempt at being a parent, that baby could have been killed,kidnapped and raped, but as long as you get to sleep who cares right. “

  13. I think the real problem here is the use of the word ” juveniles”.

    Yes, THOSE juveniles may have been causing problems… but if that report had said “A resident reported ADULTS wandering the street on Ocean View Avenue” would anyone think it was ok? No? Ageism at its finest!

    What was ‘special’ about those juveniles (or adults) that made it seem like they were a threat to the peace? Either identify the law that was broken, or what made it a police matter (as the other items do) or leave it off the report.

  14. I’m very tired of people seeing kids of any age and group size, together on a public street or area and treating them suspect simply because they aren’t adults. When do you hear people saying they saw a group of adults walking around the neighborhood, down a sidewalk, around a park or anywhere else and became concerned and called it in?

    My teen has been stopped by police, while walking with friends, numerous times for no other reason than it was a group of teens together in public.

    I’ve walked countless places and times with groups of adults, sometimes in the double digit numbers and have never been stopped and asked what I’m doing, why I am out in public, why we are together, and do I mind if they search my bag. My teen has. These would be daylight hours as well, not three Am type stops to question them.

    A group of kids walking is not suspect and should never be reason to look at them to see if they are doing bad things or call the police on them simply because they are together in public.

  15. EmilyK and Pentamom have it right. Isn’t one of the things that makes a community safe for kids to be ‘free range” is adults paying attention, and acting on what doesn’t seem right? It takes a village, etc.

    There’s very little information in this blotter — including the time of day. If there was a crowd of “juveniles” — I read that as teenagers or preteens, no race implied — wandering down my street at 3 am, I might call too. In my city, that’s when the graffiti hits the garage doors. And yes, I’d probably call if it was adults at that hour too.

    But there’s not enough here to call it.

  16. I love the cops box. This one is no fun, though.

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  18. I’ll second the comments of the poster who said that it’s very difficult to tell the whole story from the brief sentence that appears in a police log. This could be a neighbourhood busybody reporting an innocent group of kids walking down the street, or it could be a frightened resident reporting a menacing group of teenagers peering into her living room window.

  19. It’s the use of the word ‘juveniles’ that jars… the subtext of that word tends to be ‘must be up to something’ as opposed to ‘sweet little kiddies’.

    Like the time I read a letter in the local newspaper complaining about all the ‘youths’ who were, horrors, ‘playing football’ and ‘skateboarding’ in the park. Have they no thought for decent society?!!!

  20. meh indeed.

  21. Where I come from, this would often be a cause for worry.

    Both of the high schools I attended were FULL of “juveniles” who would, if wandering around in a group in town, be more than likely to cause disruption, disturbance, minor property damage, minor thefts, damage to merchandise, bullying, beg people for money or transport or stuff, and generally make something between a nuisance and a criminal of themselves.

    This is something like 80% of the people I’d known between the ages of 12 and 18.

    You wouldn’t want to be reporting to the police every time you saw a group of “juveniles wandering”, but you’d sure as hell be leery of any such group you saw.

  22. If the people being reported appear to be under a certain age, an official police record is going to refer to it as “juveniles.” Again, there’s nothing more necessarily to be read into than that. Police blotters doing use words like “charming children” or “pleasant youngsters.” They use the word “juvenile” if the person appears to be under 18.

    The problem here is we don’t have the whole story, and it’s obvious we don’t have the whole story. It’s just as foolish to assume there is nothing more to the story and that these kids were reported *just* for being kids, as it is to assume there is something more to the story, and they were reported for some menacing activity. WE JUST DON’T KNOW.

  23. I work at a community newspaper group, and we publish this kind of info all the time. I can tell you that people will call the police for virtually anything:
    – if their kid won’t get off the computer
    – if the firemen they previously called refused to remove their boots on entering the home
    – if they are 13, and their parents are trying to get them to do something they don’t want to
    – if there is a skunk inside their house
    – if they want to teach their child how to dial 911 (virtually a weekly occurence)
    Those are all examples of real calls we’ve printed. We get the juveniles ones frequently, too, and just random “suspicious persons” or ‘suspicious cars’ that always turn out to either have a logical explanation, or wind up being unsuspicious at all, since the person or vehicle is usually gone when officers get there.

    Here’s an annoying free-range one though: a neighbor called because she saw a boy walking down the road. A vehicle pulled over, he talked to the driver for a minute, then got in. So she called 911. The cops came. Guess who the driver was? HIS DAD.

  24. “Either identify the law that was broken, or what made it a police matter (as the other items do) or leave it off the report.”

    This is a list of reports to the police, not of police reports. What made it a “police matter” is that someone chose to call, and what they chose to call about, is what is reported. It’s beyond the police’s control if people call about things that aren’t actually police matters, and it’s not up to the person recording what is reported to determine if a law has been broken — that comes after the police respond to the report (if they do) and investigate.

  25. My first thought was the movie “Hot Fuzz” because the (adult) residents were all upset with kids in hoodies walking around. The real criminals were the adults who were reporting the kids and wanted to…no, if you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t spoil it. It was funny.

    My second thought was when we lived in MT the police blotter would regularly carry items that would end up on shows like Jay Leno because they were so silly. Things like “The rooster down the road (rural) is crowing.” (Which was probably a poke at people moving in to rural areas with farms who want to make them more like the city they came from.)

  26. I’m wondering if the caller was a little old lady alone in her house. Really, people have the right to call the police when they don’t feel safe and if she perceived an unsafe or unusual situation she should have called. Color and age of everyone involved aside, I don’ t know that this was a free range issue.

  27. Perhaps seeing “Juveniles wandering on Ocean Ave.” was a strange and and seldom seen because our “juveniles” are inside watching TV or are on the computer “socializing”.

  28. I do have an issue with this police blotter. I lived in small towns where ridiculous things always appeared in the police blotter–heck, I’m sure I caused a reported issue once. Chances are, there was no more to this story than kids on the road. No extra issues, no unknown dangerous situations. I’ve seen a report for a rat in the yard. I promise you, this was sent in by some busybody.

    I would like to bring up a freerange moment from a week ago. I was at the store. I passed an elderly couple. A moment later, as if on second thought, the lady asked if I had a little girl. I replied no. The lady was not bothered, just casually explained she had just passed a young girl on her own. The girl had seemed old enough to wander a few aisles away and seemed confident and happy, so the couple had thought if they happened to see a possible parent, they would double check. No panic, no busybodiness, no dragging the poor child through the store or alerting management. Just polite neighborly actions and the assumption that it might be okay for the kid to be looking at something.

  29. As a 911 dispatcher/calltaker, I suggest that if you call the police about a group of kids walking down the street, PLEASE be able to explain what is suspicious about them (and no, being in a group and walking doesn’t count). So many callers cannot explain just what is the problem, and often will fall back on “I don’t feel safe”, often when the kids are out of their sight completely and they are inside their locked-up-tight house. I will ask “Were theyphysically fighting? Were they arguing? Were they damaging property? Did they walk on lawns?” etc etc etc, and most often the answer is “no”. They were just a group walking down a public sidewalk.

    We will still take the call and dispatch the police, but really..there’s gotta be something else you’d prefer your police department be handling than a “suspicious person” call for which the complainant cannot even articulate the reason for suspicion.

  30. Perhaps said juveniles were actually IN the street, creating a traffic problem or endangering themselves. (We all know sometimes teenagers can do stupid things like walk into traffic). As above posters have pointed out, we just don’t know.

  31. I’m shaking my head. As a parent of a teen who dresses Punk I hear a lot of stories from my son. Stories that explain to me WHY our youth do not trust police or for that matter people in general. How he is questioned for sitting at the park eating lunch or how he’s been stopped a number of times with a cop saying he needed to search his bag. Luckily my son DOES know his rights here and says NO.

    Well a few weeks ago my son and a friend walked a young woman home from a band event instead of letting her walk herself after dark. On the way back instead of walking on the street the boys decided to walk on the park path right next to the street. They both ended up in the back of a police car. Why? Because one of them had kicked a trash can in passing it didn’t even turn over and someone had called it in.

    When we eventually where called to come pick our son up. We were told that they where rude and really if I was minding my own business and all of a sudden told to drop and then shoved in to a cop car I am pretty sure I would say a few things under my breath too. The cop gave them each a ticket for BEING IN THE PARK AFTER HOURS and LITTERING. Even though they where just walking on the path beside the park, when one of the boys kicked the trash can that was in the park.

    Loving Mom

  32. Beth made a good point about explaining why it’s dangerous or threatening. 911 is for emergencies. Real ones. Police can be out keeping the peace, but can’t we do the same thing, when appropriate? If kids were in the street, we tell them to get out, not instantly get the law involved.

    If the Juveniles were a true problem, there would be more to the report.

  33. “Chances are, there was no more to this story than kids on the road.”

    The chances are either 100% or 0% that your speculations are correct, since this was a real past event, not a prediction about some future event. You can’t condemn the police blotter for what it says (or the unknown person who made the report) when you *don’t know that the situation in question was not a perfectly legitimate case requiring police attention.* You can guess that it’s more or less likely that it was, but you really can’t have “a problem with the police blotter” if you don’t know the actual situation that it reflects. And you don’t.

  34. “If the Juveniles were a true problem, there would be more to the report.”

    You know this how? This was a record of a call that was made, not a record of the police response and investigation. A person could have called, not given much detail, and been referring to a legitimate situation where there were genuinely problematic things going on. Or, a person could have called and not given much detail, because there was nothing actually going on to give details about, and that wouldn’t have been legitimate. But you can’t tell from the information we have.

    Or maybe the dispatcher was stupid writing it down. But I don’t understand why people feel compelled to guess at what was happening here and then criticize unknown people based on their own guesses.

  35. BTW, Loving Mom gives a good example of how these situations can be blown out of proportion and these reports can be made for dumb reasons. All I’m saying is that you can’t take the fact that somebody reported juveniles on the street and conclude that anybody did anything either right, or wrong. So I’m not saying it’s impossible, I’m saying that jumping to conclusions about minimal information doesn’t reflect a wholesome Free-Range philosophy; it reflects the fact that human beings are good at jumping to conclusions that fit our experience or preconceptions.

  36. Couldn’t find where you have your email, so just wanted to let you know one of the story lines from the most recent episode of Modern Family was about parents overreacting to their 8 yr old son becoming friends with their elderly, male neighbor. Essentially, they immediately assumed pervert, overreacted based on nothing, and then realized how ridiculous it was to assume the worst when the friendship was so innocent and sweet.

  37. It really is a strange report, but before I jump to conclusions I’d rather read the details of the report. Obviously that is just a one sentence synopsis.

    It sounds silly on the face of it, and it may really be as silly as it sounds, but a lot of information has not been put in that blotter.

  38. At our old house, I called the cops countless times because of the kids (ranging in age from 8 or 9 to 16 or 17) in the neighborhood being out late at night. They would stand by our house (we were on the corner) under the street light as late as 3am — yes on school nights. They’d talk, yell, scream, fight… I’d be up with the baby and could see them pick up rocks and throw at passing cars, they’d key the cars, shoot guns (I always convinced myself they were BB guns, but they were way too loud for that) at random things (like our front window), and once they actually set off the HUGE fireworks (all fireworks are illegal in PA, but these were the big mortars that shouldn’t be set off in the middle of a city neighborhood anyways) and when the one elderly neighbor came out to tell them to quit it, they pointed the thing at her house and set it off. Thankfully, her hedges in the front of her house caught the brunt of the thing and they burnt with only minor damage to her house and she had to be rushed to the hospital due to a heart attack and almost died. It was hell.

    So there are definitely *good* reasons to call the cops… but I’d think that the report would say something more like “Resident reported juveniles were on X Street doing … “, rather than the generic “Someone saw them walking” if they were really up to something or if the police saw them doing something.

    But, as others have said, it’s hard to tell. Maybe the person just said “there are kids walking and I want someone to come out now” and they sent someone out, so they had to report it. Maybe the fact that nothing else was said means the cops got out there and found nothing? Hard to say.

    Thankfully, in our new place I only had to call the cops on a group of kids once. I was inside and kept hearing giggling and brakes squealing. It didn’t seem right and I looked out the window to see a group of maybe 15 teens dressed in black on the side of our busy road. It was about 9-10 at night, so completely dark. As traffic would approach, they’d jump in the middle of the lane in front of the car and then quickly jump back off the road, run a bit away from the car, and laugh the whole way.
    As I was calling 911, they did it in front of a city bus. Unfortunately for them, the cops were already called by someone else (911 operator said a driver had called) and happened to pull around the corner RIGHT as they did it. Not only did they get yelled at by the cops, but the bus driver yelled at them too. I heard one of them say something like “I can’t wait to hear you explain to each of your parents why you were doing this…” I couldn’t help but giggle ;)

  39. And I thought the blotter sounded more like it came out of the 1950s, and that it was a little bit refreshing to not read about drug possession, minors in possession of alcohol, shots fired, etc.!

  40. ““If the Juveniles were a true problem, there would be more to the report.”

    You know this how? ”

    Absent really bad reporting for whatever newspaper this is from (a distinct possibility), we know that the caller reported nothing but juveniles wandering because that is all the call report says. If the caller had noticed something else amiss, he or she would have reported that. You are not going to call the police to report “juveniles wandering” around when you’ve actually seen those juveniles doing something else. Think about it. You see a group of kids throwing rocks at cars, are you going to call 911 and report juveniles throwing rocks at cars or just juveniles wandering? In towns outside of Mayberry (though I’m not sure this isn’t Mayberry based on the police blotter), the likelihood of police responding to a “juveniles throwing rocks at passing cars” complaint is infinitely higher than them responding to a “juveniles wandering” complaint so if something else is actually going on, you tell 911 when you call.

    Further, I spend many days listening to 911 and dispatch calls for cases. The dispatcher grills the people calling to get details before sending someone out. This is for the safety of the police officers they are sending to respond. You don’t want to send a cop out to a situation of “juveniles wandering” only to have them killed because it should really have been a report of juveniles robbing man at gunpoint.

    Now if could be that a police investigation determined that the juveniles who were wandering really were up to no good. However, all indications are that the original caller reported seeing nothing other than juveniles wandering.

  41. Donna said it best. That blotter reflects what was reported… there is very little to guess at here, no good reason to assume anything more was happening than kids wandering. Compare this with blotter summaries of more intense incidents. There’s a huge difference. Granted, maybe the caller didn’t have the eloquence to express how the kids made him/her uncomfortable, or what they were doing; bur it’s more likely more information would have been presented were that the case. No, I don’t have all the info, but reason suggests it was probably a mild incident that didn’t warrant calling the police.

  42. I think “juvenile” is a legal term for someone under 18. It was also used in show business to designate a young character. (think of some of Mickey Rooney’s early roles). For law enforcement reports, it has the advantage of being “gender neutral” and “non-judgemental”. One of the problems with “wandering juveniles” is that “The Devil finds work for idle hands to do.” If the kids are on their way to a specific destinationor even hanging out and catching up on the latest happenings, that’s one thing, but if they’re just going around “looking for trouble” it’s quite another.

  43. Not only do we not have proper context, as many have said, we also have an edited police blotter. Police blotters ALWAYS have the time. The time in itself could be a clue as to why someone called, but there also might be more descriptions of what occurred to make the person call that had been left out in the editing.

    Juveniles is just a description, nothing more. If it were a group of men walking down the street, the blotter would have read “adult males.” Police often look for patterns. If they get frequent calls from the same area about the same group of people, they know to keep their eyes open.

  44. This ploice blotter is clearly from Kensington, a wealthy neighborhood near Berkeley, CA. The street that the juveniles are walking on was one block from the car theft. Maybe there is a direct link. This neighborhood is very white. I know also that blacks and latino kids target this area, as our car got broken into by out of town kids with a “hispanic” accent (we actually talked to the criminals on the stolen phone! They weren’t caught).

    I think this story is not about kids, but racial profiling.

  45. @suzyQ yes this is a tongue-in-cheek (although accurate) blotter. I recognized this style immediately from back when I read these weekly Voice/Montclarion papers in the Bay Area. These are neighborhood, mostly wealthy-area, focused papers that don’t carry much real news. The blotters are quite entertaining some times, in a what were they thinking to call the police on that, don’t we live in Lake Wobegone West sort of way. The real crime is in the real newspapers. I even think that the local radio station sometimes read these blotters, just like Garrison Keilor.

  46. Hey! I live near that neighborhood! I have SEEN those juveniles wandering. There are sometimes as many as 15 of them together, crossing the border from Berkeley to Kensington (obviously in an attempt to confuse the local authorities about whose jurisdiction is responsible). They will sometimes wander to one of the small local parks at dusk on a Friday night — parks that were obviously meant to enhance local home values — but they will hang out there, boys and girls TOGETHER!, rough-housing, flirting, laughing loudly, ignoring adult authority figures. Don’t they know they should go to someone’s basement and get high, drunk, have sex and watch a whole lot of stupid reality shows? Thank goodness we have watchful nosy-parkers to phone this kind of mayhem in!

  47. This reminds me of an evening my brother, cousins, and their friends had. They had gotten ahold of an old fashion fire extinguisher and were sitting on a street squirting cars as they stopped at the stop sign (it’s not quite as bad as it sounds, the ppl were similarily aged and minded ppl primarily out cruising around downtown). Anyway after awhile a cop pulls up and says ‘i had a report of a group of boys squirting people with a fire extinguisher and, look at that, here’s a group of boys and that looks like a fire extinguishers!’ He talked personably with them for a while which primarily consisted of the notion that people have no sense of humor, but they still probably shouldn’t be squirting cars in the middle of the night. Then he told them ‘you should give that to me and watch me squirt a motocycle cop, those guys have NO sense of humor!’. He left them be (and didn’t confiscate their toy). It was hardly the only time they found themselves downtown and bored in the middle of the night…..

  48. I’m from Australia – what is a police blotter and why is it published? We don’t have that kind of stuff reported over here. We have ‘crimestoppers’ type information in local papers that comes from the local police and is asking people for information about crimes that have actually been committed but, to my knowledge, no one reports on reports.

  49. Melanie, many small town newspapers have found that they can increase circulation figures by posting every single call of interest made to the police in the course of a week. These often will include the names and home addresses of the people involved. For some reason it is not considered a privacy violation. It is especially popular in towns infected with fanatical evangelical religionists where it replaces the shaming of the public stockage, except it is used not only for people guilty of minor crimes, but also those guilty of no crime at all.

  50. Sorry for the typo, “public stockage” was supposed to be “public stockade”.

  51. “Best” police blotter from the small town where I grew up reported that:

    “A man was seen walking around naked through a picture window”…

    The blotter reported what the caller called in. Clearly, the man was not committing a crime, walking around naked in his own home. The caller, who apparently was looking in through his window when walking by still found it offensive and called it in. No further information. We all wondered if the caller was picked up as a Peeping Tom…

    The blotters report what people call in to report.

  52. No! Not juveniles wandering the street!? Good lord, help us if they are thinking of organizing a pick-up game of baseball, or even worse, soccer!

  53. Not “stockade,” either — that’s a fence around a fort or similar structure. The word you want is “stocks.”

    Public shaming was used by both the religious and non-religious of every culture in history as punishment, FWIW.

  54. I am seriously concerned about the premise of this movement. We have voiced the idea several times over that the best way to forge community ties is to look outside ourselves and speak up when there is a problem.

    Everyone’s definition of what a “problem” is is different and yes, sometimes there is overreaction and hysterics (on both sides). Here someone voiced a concern and all that I would take away from it is that THE POLICE FOUND NOTHING WRONG. Someone had a concern that ended up being nothing (because there was just a report, no arrests etc). I put this in the “win” column for appropriate reactions.

    If we tell people to question what is going on and raise questions that they have you cannot very well berate them for having a difference of opinion.

  55. Hmmm. If they are not doing anything , why bother to call the cops? As a teen I was hardly conventional in the way I dressed, Black spiked hair, earrings, punk-rock clothing, in my smaller town, my friends and I stood out. The number of times I was stopped by the police, while walking around was far too many. My middle son hangs out with a group of kids out in the country, they walk everywhere, along the roads, I would be pretty upset, if he came home to tell me someone called the cops on them for nothing other than they were walking around, Remember, equal rights is for everyone, including groups of teens who are not breaking any laws.

  56. Using the word ‘juvenile’ to describe a kid makes sense when framed within cop-speak that still lumps marijuana with meth and heroin under the umbrella of ‘narcotics’.

    Police – Making mountains out of molehills since inception.

  57. As one who works at a small-town newspaper, I kind of take offense to the way they’re described in some of the comments. An alternate way to look at it is that it helps people keep up with what’s going on in their communities. If there’s been a rash of low-level car break-ins in a neighborhood, a larger paper may wait until there’s an arrest or even longer to let people know. Blotter readers will be able to see, and know to keep their cars locked. People can satisfy their curiosity about seeing a cop car on their street, and yes, some of them are just good for entertainment.

    My paper doesn’t print names or exact addresses, only streets. If it’s a more serious incident, like a felony DWI with an arrest, we’ll print the name. it’s easy to slam “community newspapers light on news” but you guys love it when we run a 20-inch story with a photo about your kid, and you love it that we publicize your church’s spaghetti dinner fundraiser free of charge, and you sing our praises when we’re the only media outlet in town who felt that it WAS a big deal that your community theater group won a statewide award.

  58. Sometimes groups of juveniles are up to no good. In my neighborhood during spring break about half dozen cars were spray painted. The culprits? juveniles wandering the streets bored. And this is a nice neighborhood too.

  59. As a parent of kids just the high side of juvenile (21 tomorrow and 19 next month), it breaks my heart the lack of trust we all put in young people.

    @Bob… why should they need to be going to a destination? Do you ever just take a walk to be outside, listen to the birds, breathe some fresh air?

    I certainly spent plenty of time just walking around talking with my friends… and yes, flirting and rough-housing, and playing pick-up kickball or touch football or … wait for it … frisbee! when I was a kid. So did my own kids! However, they got bothered more than I did. They were sort of hipsterish kids… plenty of face metal, tight pants, crazy hair colors. Big deal! Every generation has their own version. In mine, it was boys grew their hair long, girls did long shags that hid their eyes. Now my son’s way of ‘standing out’ is to have a sort of 1950’s hairstyle, buzzed very short with it a bit longer on top… he seriously is the spitting image of my uncle’s 1960 sophomore photo. Even wears the same style glasses. Main difference? Pierced lip, pierced septum, gauged ears. Big effing deal. He’s kind and funny and smart, and it sucks that people look at him and his friends as though they’re a danger. And I think that’s what the issue with this is. Our fear of youth, period. And yet, most of us here are parents. Just ya’ll wait… when it’s YOUR kids that scare the neighbors, you’ll be crabby with the NEIGHBORS, not with your kid.
    As with men out with children, give ‘em a chance. Don’t simply assume the worst because they’re not over 25. Most of them are lovely, thoughtful people.

  60. How do you submit a story to your site?

  61. Ali, maybe they are up to no good because they got kicked off the playground because they are not between 5 and 12, and they don’t play basketball or tennis.

    There ARE playgrounds designed for teens – they have fun spinning things to hang on, among other things, but, you will be hard put to find one in the US. I was looking up some of these playground equipment/toys for my son and was amazed at what they have in other places.

  62. I live in a town similar to Kensington and less than 10 miles away. We have similar stories in our paper and they are meant to be taken as tongue in cheek.

    Things like “neighbor reported that water was running in neighbors house. Police responded and found water dripping from garden hose. Police shut of water to hose.”

    That said, I do wonder about the racial breakdown of the reports of roaming juveniles. I’m guessing, from reports from some other black residents, that our kids are much more likely to be stopped and questioned by police.

  63. Cheryl – and somehow if they don’t have a playgroudn it’s okay if they vandalize cars?

  64. On the last bullet: there’ll certainly be some car door slamming in the streets of Kensington tonight!

  65. [...] If you are looking for some comic relief, this is a quick, but insightful little post from Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids. [...]

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