Temple: Residents are frustrated with juvenile crime

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TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) Some Temple residents are fed up with the amount of juvenile crime going on in the city.

(Temple Fire & Rescue photo/file)

Last year, Temple police said there were 112 arrests of young people between the ages of 10 to 16. So far this year, there have already been 14.

"Where are the parents? That's the first thing,” Temple resident Earline Brady said.

She stepped on to her porch Monday night to find flashing lights from police cars.

A 15-year-old boy was shot in the leg after he and two others were caught breaking into a vehicle.

"My only comfort was that maybe this will be this gentleman's wake up,” Brady said.

Temple has experienced numerous crimes involving young people.

Last year, six boys, who range in age from 9 to 14, were referred to juvenile probation after they were implicated in either the Wilson Park playground fire or vandalism that caused about $1 million in damage to Temple’s vacant Emerson Elementary School.

In January, a playground at Jefferson Neighborhood Park was also destroyed by a fire set by 3 juveniles.

"I think it's a kid problem but I think it's an adult problem because they're not watching their children,” Temple resident Mary Avinone said.

Jeff Stegall at the Ralph Wilson Youth Club said they provide options for local youth, aimed at keeping them off the streets and out of trouble.

"We want the kids to know that there is one place for sure that they belong and they matter," he said.

The club is preparing to offer more activities for older youth this summer, including several sports camps and a backpacking trip to Colorado.

"With idle hands in an adult and a kid, nothing positive comes with lack of structure and nothing to do," Stegall said.

He said he hopes structure and activities like this can help reverse what appears to be an unfortunate trend.

Police are still looking for the two suspects who were with the juvenile who was shot during the attempted car burglary.