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Parents are responsible for their kids' criminality



Published: Fri, August 26, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Last week wasn't good for some children in Youngstown and New Middletown -- and it shouldn't have been. Pelting a house with eggs is a crime; trespassing on private property is a crime; breaking curfew is a crime, as is failure to comply with police orders. And underage possession of tobacco products is also against the law.

As we read the two news stories in The Vindicator about juveniles flaunting the law, this question came to mind: Where were the parents?

The answer: Obviously not paying close enough attention to what their children were doing. To us, that is as egregious as the crimes committed by the youngsters.

Indeed, in Youngstown, the father of the four children who were cleaning up the eggy mess at a house on the 2600 block of Cooper Street -- under the watchful eye of police officers -- drove up and demanded that his children return home. The police told the father that the 12, 9, 8 and 6 year olds would be released after they had cleaned up the eggs that were smashed all over the porch and driveway.

Police reports show the father sat in his car saying his children had done nothing and that all police are pigs and no good.

That attitude certainly explains the kids' anti-social behavior.

The mother was no better, refusing to come out of her house to speak to police, reports show. The police entered and told the woman that the neighbor wanted her egged house cleaned. It certainly was not an unreasonable request.

The woman whose house was targeted and other residents on Cooper Street say there are always problems with kids.

Children who lack parental guidance are more likely to become juvenile criminals than those whose parents keep a tight rein on them.

Complaints

The arrest of 12 children in the pre-dawn hours last Saturday came on the heels of a month of complaints from village residents about vandalism and other juvenile-related offenses.

Police Sgt. Vincent D'Egidio said the crackdown was designed to bring an end to the criminal behavior, which was "putting too much grief on our neighborhoods."

Those arrested ranged in age from 12 to 15 and were cited on charges of criminal trespass, curfew violations and failure to comply with police orders. One was cited on a charge of illegally possessing tobacco products.

What makes this incident even more disturbing is the fact that only three of the juveniles live in the village. The rest are from Springfield Township and Pennsylvania.

Where were the parents? Nine of the young offenders were arrested around 3:30 a.m.

New Middletown police are now on the alert for future law breakers and have warned that parents also could be cited.

Fathers and mothers -- or guardians -- who give their children such free rein are obviously in need of a reality check. They should be hauled before the juvenile court judge to answer to charges of child abandonment. That's what the cases in Youngstown and New Middletown reflect, a failure of parents to teach their children right from wrong.




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