'Operation Safe Summer'
Police have plan to keep teens out of trouble
The St. Petersburg Police Department has launched "Operation Safe Summer" to reduce youth-related crimes during the school break.
While the uniform crime rate is down 2.3 percent for the first four months of 2012, compared with the same period in 2011, juvenile-related crimes such as auto theft and vehicle burglary tend to go up when schools let out because many teens have less access to structured activities and too much time on their hands.
A team of officers will be dedicated to the project day and night throughout the summer. The citywide program will use two methods to reduce crime. Officers will track known repeat offenders and move quickly to arrest those who disregard the laws, but they will also facilitate referrals for individuals needing human services, such as substance abuse education, conflict resolution, temporary employment and education issues.
To accomplish the second approach, the department has formed a partnership with several organizations in the community dedicated to engaging youths. Partners will provide the services, training or counseling necessary to help at-risk youths find the support they need to stay out of trouble and succeed in life.
Residents can also help reduce youth crime by remembering a few simple crime prevention tips: Always lock vehicles, never leave cars unattended with the engine running and the air conditioning on because it is hot out, use anti-theft devices, and never leave valuables in plain sight inside a vehicle, especially electronic items such as cellphones and GPS devices.
William Proffitt, St. Petersburg Police Department