INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is pairing with the Indy Parks Department to drive teens toward better outlets.
A host of crimes over the past two weeks has seen children as young as 12 years old be arrested in burglaries or robberies.
“All the children, and our juveniles, are not bad people. Ninety-nine percent of them do the right thing every day," IMPD Deputy Chief Chris Bailey said. “It's the small number we need to focus on. We need to give them something to do, give them hope.”
The Parks Department has a vast program of camps and courses for kids to attend. Indy Parks Director Linda Broadfoot calls the parks system "a crime fighting tool."
“They are a great outlet for people looking for something positive to do in the summer," Broadfoot said.
A point of emphasis is being made on older teens, ages 15 to 18 years old. Broadfoot said most of those teens aren't looking for camps but rather employment to fill their time.
“We hire over 400 youth every summer to keep our pools running, to keep our day camps going,” Broadfoot said.
The city will be hiring new community peacemakers dedicated solely to juveniles. They will intervene with families to try and prevent kids from becoming adult offenders.
“I think in the past, we held our kids accountable. We looked at it as a punishment, rather than rehabilitation,” Deputy Chief Bailey said. “The more options we give our kids to do, to engage themselves, the less likely they are to be involved in these type of activities."
If you want to get your child into any of the sprawling number of youth programs offered by the Indy Parks Department, you can sign up here.