Lori DeFillippi, a parks commissioner, had this to say this afternoon:
We can blame the parents, blame a permissive society, blame the lack of recreation available, nevertheless, there is really but one solution — devise a punishment that fits the crime and publish the result for all to see. Mere slaps on the wrist, or assignments to non-punitive or mundane community service tasks serve only to encourage repetition by the perpetrator(s).
The blame for juvenile offenses can be placed with lack of parental supervision and the accompanying indifference to authority & responsibility. Admittedly, this is not always the case as some adolescents defy logic and, despite their parents doing all the right things, some stray from the straight and narrow. When push comes to shove, though, blaming bad parenting will not solve the problem; a parent or parents who have permitted a child to reach his/her teens without respect for authority or private property are hardly candidates to
Our city leaders need to design a system of punishment for youthful offenders, whether their crimes be vandalism or graffiti, that are not only swift, but also appropriately severe as to inhibit a repeat performance. More importantly, the ensuing price paid by offenders must be sufficiently distasteful & publicized in such a manner that imitators will find it embarrassingly “uncool” to copy such utter foolishness.
No longer can our city “coddle” offenders in the effort to be their friend, to respect their “self esteem,” to appeal to their better nature or to appease complaining parents. Let the offenders walk around downtown with a sign hung around their neck listing their offenses!
While I do not presume to hold all the answers, it should be obvious that there exists a growing disrespect for authority, for private property and for taking personal responsibility for one’s own actions as well as those of one’s children. There was a time when punishment issues were solved largely within the family or by the community. Today, it's “let the police and the courts handle it” We must do better as a community and adopt a zero-tolerance,-get tough policy within this city.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org