TEXARKANA, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – According to police, as the temperature rises in the summer, so do reports of some crimes committed by kids. But, a local organization is working to reverse that trend by keeping kids occupied while school’s out.
While students throughout the area are on summer break, Texarkana, Texas, Police said the break from studies is leading to an increase in car break-ins. And they said that’s just one of the crimes they see an increase in each summer when kids are out of class.
“Obviously they have a lot more free time on their hands, not the structured environment that they have during the school year,” said Shawn Vaughn with Texarkana, Texas, Police Department.
Vaughn said they’ve seen a spike in thefts, vehicle burglaries, simple assaults and drug offenses. In total, a 23.5 percent increase in the two weeks since school’s been out, compared to the two weeks before the final bell.
“We know that the kids or the juveniles are doing a lot of these because, quite honestly, we’re arresting them,” said Vaughn.
The Boys and Girls Club provides a safe, supervised environment for students during the summer months.
“It’s so fun,” said Markaidon Holt, 13.
Without the club, students said they would have nothing to do.
“I’d just be in the house bored,” said Aniyah Black, 12.
The club welcomes children from ages 6 to 18, the teens serve as positive role models for the younger kids.
“One thing that’s important to us as a preventative to possibly juvenile crimes is to keep them engaged in activities during the day, such as mentoring,” said Sann Terry, corporate and community relations director for the Salvation Army.
Kids are provided lunch and snacks, keep busy with games and field trips, and even stay up on their studies.
“It’s something to keep you out of trouble and keep your mind focused and ready for school when it starts,” said Holt.
The Boys and Girls Club is available to kids all day during the summer, then will transition to an after-school program this fall for students enrolled in all four of the main Texarkana school districts.
Officials said the summer session is full at 100 kids, but there are slots available for the after-school program. For more information, call Sandra Golston at (903) 838-1446.