For Abilene juveniles aged 10 to 16, the family violence crime rate increases during the summer months.
Sergeant Tony Lassetter has served seven years in the Abilene Police Department’s youth division. He said it seems boredom and lack of supervision contribute to the increased rate of family violence; however, gauging juvenile crime during the summer months is difficult.
“A lot of it goes undetected,” Lassetter said.
He said it is hard to know what the juveniles are up to during the summer when they do not have school principals, teachers or resource officers keeping a close eye on them.
From June to September in 2012, 66 juveniles were arrested for “delinquent conduct.”
“We took more children into custody for assault family violence and burglary of a habitation,” Lassetter said. “Both of those were ranked in the highs…those were number one and number two.”
But from September to December of 2012, 115 juveniles were arrested for delinquent conduct. Though the numbers seem to go up during the school year, Lassetter said it is clear that family violence, involving juvenile offenders, increases during the summer.
“It’s very alarming anytime that the family unit breaks down to the point where they're assaulting one another,” Lassetter said. “What we see in the summer months is that the young offenders, or the younger folks in our population, just become overwhelmed with boredom and I think a bored teenager is a recipe for trouble.”
Lassetter said it is common to see young teens babysitting even younger siblings in single parent homes. He said it is absolutely necessary for parents to always know where their kids are, who they are with and that they are properly supervised.
“Our mission is to reduce juvenile crime in Abilene, but we can't do it alone, you know, we need community involvement to do that,” Lassetter said.
Lassetter said juveniles who make bad choices this summer could end up in the Juvenile Detention Center. Juveniles who are 14 and older could be certified as adults for violent crimes.
The YMCA is offering a full-time summer camp for children 12 and under. It costs $7 per week for members and $140 per week per non-members. Juveniles aged 13 to 16 can volunteer as sports coaches or sign up for a young adult membership for about $25 per month, depending on exact age.
Starting June 10, the Boys & Girls Club will offer a camp for juveniles for $25 per week.