Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cops: Keep Kids Busy on Break

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Cops: Keep Kids Busy on Break

Article excerpt

You probably know the old saying usually heard this time of

year: "School's Out, Drive Carefully."

Now, Jacksonville police are issuing another warning for the

long, hot summer: Provide summertime activities for your

children to keep them out of trouble.

"It's the old `idle hands' adage," said Sheriff Nat Glover. "If

you can make the kids busy in Bible school or summer programs,

you will certainly see a correlation in the numbers of

incidents."

Police handled the result of some idle hands in Mandarin last

weekend. Four residents in the 11600 block of Yalding Drive woke

up Sunday to find their mailboxes knocked over, while someone

bent a windshield wiper on a police car and broke out a

neighboring car window in the Claire Pointe apartment complex

the same day. Residents on Greenland Road and Hartley Road also

suffered vandalism last weekend.

Because vandalism is a crime of opportunity, police said, there

isn't much they can do to stop a bored teen from creating

mischief. So officers who patrol Mandarin are talking to teens

to make police "more of an ally vs. `The boogie man is coming,

let's run,'" said police Lt. Steve Farley.

"The kids are out and they have time on their hands and they

get into trouble," he said. "When we run into teens just hanging

around, we stop and talk to them and ask what's going on. I have

been sending officers up to the convenience store where they

hang out to shoot the breeze and let them know each other."

Police don't know who was responsible for the weekend's rash of

vandalism. All four mailboxes were knocked over between 9 p.m.

June 27 and 6 a.m. Sunday, police said. Damage to the officer's

car at the complex at 3355 Claire Lane was about $25, while

damage to a neighbor's car after its side window was broken

early Sunday was $200, police said. …

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