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Seven, Eight and Nine-Year-Old Criminals?

I fret over the small things, like my son getting restless at restaurants or my daughter elbowing her brother in the backseat of the car, but parents in Daytona are dealing with more drastic issues when it comes to child rearing: felonies. According to an MSNBC report, police officers have attributed some of the Florida city's rise in crime to minors. The city known for racecar driving has a crime rate that is double that of the state. Police Chief Mike Chitwood is trying to curtail those statistics. The article said:

The crimes were happening under the noon sun — and not far from the city's schools. Initially, Chitwood ordered truancy sweeps. Then he had his officers fingerprint kids caught skipping school. After running the prints through the FBI's national database he saw his suspicions confirmed: Kids were behind the spike.

It didn't take long for the police to link rings of teens to burglaries, car thefts, carjackings and even armed robberies. "We even had kids taking stolen cars out of stolen-car lots," Chitwood says."

To learn about prevention attempts,

. And the crimes aren't all being committed by tweens and teens; children as young as seven were responsible for serious offenses. Police Chief Mike Chitwood said:

"I've got 8-, 9-, 10-, 11-year-olds committing burglary and stealing cars now. What are they going to be doing when they're 21?" he says. "Hey, either you pay when they go to state or federal prison, or you're going to clean the crap up now. But somewhere along the line you are going to pay."

Unfortunately, programs to keep youth off of the streets are few and far between with limited funding and enrollment. One such example is the Palmetto facility, which provides services for 166 children with a staff of two.

How do you think Daytona should curb their child crime?

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