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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?

Join The Conversation
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
Way to go parents. This is total insanity! Seriously WHAT are the parents doing while their children are off terrorizing the city?!
megnmac megnmac 9 years
The parents aren't there. Period. We as a country need to face it, not everyone is able and not everyone is caring for their kids. We look at the stats and wonder why these people aren't doing what is obviously needed for their kids - but they aren't doing what is needed in any part of their life. When I was working in juvenile court, it was heartbreaking to see the addictions and the ignorance so many children were born into. I sent a teenager to the juvenile department of corrections where his mom had to be brought over from the jail for his sentencing. He was already involved in hostage situations and drugs. He had no one. And that was just one child. What is sometimes even worse is seeing a family that is trying, and crying, but just doesn't have the understanding or the ability to give the children what they need. A lot of the inner city charter schools that have extended days, and year round schooling, and a focus on positive attitudes and life goals from early on have really been seen to make a difference. Kids need somewhere to be and a productive option that keeps them interested. We need to come together in our communities and give children opportunities, and stop just hoping people take care of their own. Not everyone can.
luckyme luckyme 9 years
Ummm... I second what everyone else has said...where the heck are the parents?!?! And what about the schools? When has it ever been OK for 8 year olds to skip class without a call to the parents? I guarantee I will know if my child is not in school, especially at this age. Insanity! Man, I felt guilty when we ditched for senior ditch day. My how times have changed. Lastly, "One such example is the Palmetto facility, which provides services for 166 children with a staff of two." How is this even possible? Holy cow. I feel bad for those two people.
redheadkimie redheadkimie 9 years
The parents need to stand up and care for their kids. I know when my daughters 7,8,9 years old I'm gonna now where she is, and its not going to be stealing from others!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
thats how children of the corn started. I am never going to daytona
kiwitwist kiwitwist 9 years
goodness, where are the parenting skills???
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
doesn't surprise me at all. The parents need to also be held accountable. Not just the kids.
sweetcinn202 sweetcinn202 9 years
Where are these pathetic parents!?! It's not the children that are the problem, it's the parents who are droping the ball and letting the children run wild. The parents need to be sitting in jail cells, why is now the states responsibility to raise their children? It does take a village to raise a child not the police department...will the real parents PLEASE stand up!
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