WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After three major crimes with 10 suspects ranging from 12 years old to 17 years old, police and local organizations are working to inform and help local kids and teens to prevent crimes like this from happening.
On May 29, Wichita police said five 14 years olds stole a vehicle and then crashed it into a tree. Police believe the theft is related to a drive-by shooting.
Then, on May 30, two boys ages 12 and 14 were arrested after police said they broke into Mayberry Middle School, stole laptops and lead officers on a foot chase.
Early Monday morning, three teenage boys were arrested after an armed robbery at a Kwik Shop on N. Maize Road lead to a police pursuit, ending in a crash.
All these crimes happened in just six days.
“Our officers are in the schools,” said Officer Charley Davidson, Wichita Police Department. “Our officers are working with juveniles to try to hep curve a little bit of this juvenile-type of crime.”
One organization, Love Your Community, Inc. works with the city’s youth through community events and offering mentoring programs.
The leaders are also working to identify what may be leading to these crimes involving kids and teens.
“Part of the problem is you have kids that get out of school and their parents are working because they have to pay bills and then, there’s a lack of programming,” said Angel Martinez with Love Your Community, Inc.
Martinez said programs aren’t for every kid. He also said lack of transportation and programs in some neighborhoods makes it difficult for every kid and teen to get involved.
“If you just send them to a program where they’re just going to be babysat, they’re not going to want to be there,” said Martinez.
His advice to kids and teens is to find something you’re passionate about and pay attention to who you’re hanging out with.
“One bad choice can cost you your freedom and can cost you your life,” said Martinez. “If you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time and you’re putting yourself in that position and you’re pursuing your lifestyle, there’s only two ways out; death or locked up.”
Wichita police are actively investigating the three crimes.
Martinez also has advice for parents. He encourages adults to pay close attention to their kids and realize that they all need someone to trust and talk to.
Other organizations who help kids and teens and offer mentoring include: