Local News

Fayetteville Parents Speak Out About Juvenile Crime

Posted March 17, 1998

— Our youth are committing fewer crimes. A recent national survey found juvenile crime is down. In Fayetteville, however, that is not the case. Last year, the number of teens committing violent crimes increased.

Programs do exist to try to reduce those numbers. They are usually sponsored by the county or state. But now, a civilian is throwing her hat into the ring.

Although police have stepped up efforts to keep kids out of trouble, many parents in the community are beginning to realize how much of a difference they can make.

Rosie McMillan has started a grass roots effort aimed at getting those parents and community leaders more involved.

More and more kids are ending up juvenile detention centers for teenagers who have broken the law. That's why dozens of Fayetteville parents and community leaders are taking a stand against juvenile crime. They're getting together to share ideas and discuss the most effective ways to keep kids out of trouble.

"Children are at the center of my heart, and whatever I can do to steer them in the right direction, that's what I'm going to do," says group organizer Rosie McMillan. "But we cannot do it by ourselves. We need all of us."

Linda Brown brought her young son Jonathan so he could hear some solutions first hand. She believes it will make a difference for him to know that someone cares about him.

Police and teachers stress that kids must get involved in positive after-school activities, rather than just hanging out and getting in trouble.

"Our peak hours of juvenile crime are right after school, about 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and peaks around 6:30 p.m.," says Lt. Eugene Hallock of the Fayetteville Police Department. "So, that tells us those are the hours that they're out of school and right before mom and dad gets home."

Teacher Charlene Hepburn believes when kids are left idle, they become bored and tend to look for something adventurous to do. She hopes that parents will find something positive for their children to do after school so they'll stay out of trouble.

Those on hand at Tuesday's meeting say they will help spread the word, so they will have even more concerned adults on hand next time they meet.

Last year in Fayetteville, there were almost 2,300 crimes committed in which a juvenile was the suspect.


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