School's out, juvenile crimes up

Elgin_School is out for the summer, and juvenile crime is up.  For the past few weeks, local police departments have seen a spike in criminal activity, and many say it's because youth are looking for something to occupy their time.  Authorities say that the biggest increase in juvenile crime involves property damage - smashing mailboxes and windows.  They say there have also been car burglaries and breaking city curfew.

When the sun sets, police want you to keep track of your kids - especially now that it's summer vacation.  "It was pretty quiet for a couple weeks or so, then all of a sudden we're beginning to have a rash of vandalism," says Elgin Police Chief Carl Bremenkamp.  He says that the first week school lets out, kids enjoy the vacation, but they quickly get bored - which he says leads to vandalism.

Elgin School officials found a school bus with its windows smashed out and a rock inside.  Luckily, they have a surveillance system and were able to catch the culprits red-handed.  "Now we're in the process of completing the case so we can turn it into juvenile [court] and charge them."

Lawton Police also have reports of a rash of recent tire slashings, another thing kids do when they're up to no good.  The Comanche County Sheriff's Department has had it's share of teen vandals to hunt down as well.  They recently caught some juveniles damaging mailboxes.  "Luckily the complaint came in very close to where an officer was, and he was able to apprehend three juveniles in the process of damaging mail boxes," said Comanche County Deputy Sheriff Ray Pyeatt.

Authorities are urging parents to keep a better watch over their children so things like this don't happen.  "Just know where your kids are and what they're up to," said Pyett.  "You know, try to get them involved in summer activities and things that they can plan and do.  Be more inquisitive about them.  Find out who they run around with and what they're doing."

Some departments also are having problems with kids breaking curfew.  There have been quite a few incidents where kids under age eighteen were in parks after hours - especially in Lawton.