Summer activity camp: Reducing crime by entertaining kids

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – What looked like fun and games at the Evergreen Activity Center on Thursday afternoon goes beyond the surface.

That’s according to Wichita Police Department community police officer Steve Jerrell.

Jerrell began the summer activity camp in the Planeview neighborhood in 2002 to address the lack of activities in the low-income area.

“When we first started in Planeview the first summer, in six weeks we watched juvenile crime drop 32 percent. We know that it works,” Jerrell said.

Thursday was the end-of-summer party for activity camp at both the Planeview camp and the one at Evergreen Activity Center.

Dozens of kids spent the last 10 weeks at camp Monday through Friday, doing activities alongside Wichita police officers and Wichita Parks and Recreation, which puts on the camp.

“We make friends a lot and talk about stuff and we just be nice,” camper Miranda Aguilier said.

The connections kids make at camp can help at home, too.

“When the kids go home every night or every couple nights and talk about the positive things the police are doing with them, the parents attitude might change,” Jerrell said.

This year, kids got to take the fun of camp back home. Local businesses donated thousands of dollars worth of sporting goods equipment the kids got to choose from.

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