Letter: Youth are community responsibility

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Publisher’s Note: RCMP in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain issued an open letter to residents of that community July 15, addressing concerns of vandalism by local youth. We do not normally publish open letters from outside the community, but this letter could well apply to any community. – SD

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Spruce Grove and Stony Plain

RCMP in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain are concerned with a small percentage of youth wreaking havoc on our communities during the last two weeks.

Since school let out, police have responded to well over 30 incidents of vandalism and property damage. These include: mailboxes tipped over, playgrounds wrecked, fires deliberately set, and spray-painting. These types of instances not only ruin our community, they also tie up police resources that could be better utilized dealing with actual emergency situations.

Police are actively investigating, and have arrested several youth in relation to the fires and mailbox damages.

The vast majority of these incidents are occurring in the early morning hours, leaving many to wonder why these young people are roaming our streets throughout the night. While summer holidays means more freedom and a break from the routine associated with school, this should translate to evening Slurpee runs and dips in the pool to cool off, not committing criminal acts on public or private property.

The community plays a pivotal role in crime prevention; in this instance, specifically by ensuring that youth are supervised and held accountable for their whereabouts and behaviours. This may include calling their children’s friends’ parents, to ensure that they are where they promised to be. Having once been young ourselves, and being parents, we realize that sometimes, just sometimes, kids may not be entirely truthful with their parents. The onus is on parents to monitor their activities, not police.

“RCMP believe that long-term prevention of youth crime can only be accomplished in partnership with the community. We work closely with local organizations and community services to ensure that young people who come into contact with the police, as either offenders or victims, receive the help they need to overcome challenges in their lives”, states the Officer in Charge, Inspector Gary Graham.

Police realize out of the thousands of youth in Spruce Grove and Stony Plain, there is a literal handful committing these criminal acts. Let’s work together to be a village and raise these children in a safe and productive community.

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