Crimes by juveniles are growing across our county and our nation. These crimes encompass so many offenses in the justice system that many are considered violent enough to be adult crimes.
At Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, we have targeted Juvenile Crimes as a major focus of this administration. We want to work with the youth and their family members so that, with everyone working together, we can address the issues before the young minds of our communities lose sight of basic decency and continue on a path of destruction.
Trends show that violent traits appear at a younger age each year. Since September 11, 2001, our youth are more aware of violence on the home front. In Riverside County, terrorism seemed far away, but that is no longer the case.
Fear plays a major factor for today’s youth whether it is at home, in the community or at school. Many pre-teens and teenagers try to hide their fears through aggression. Others will withdraw from family and society.
Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
Keeping abreast of behavior changes in your children will help you to become proactive. However, don’t be afraid to react to any of the behavior changes listed. Start by seeking assistance from your child’s school. They can provide you with a host of resources that may include referring you to a school counselor, law enforcement resource officer, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or county mental health professional.
Be Alert to Behavior Changes
If you note any of the following, start now to seek solutions to these problems:
- Drastic change in selection of friends
- Fixations with music, video games, and TV programs promoting drugs and violence
- Friendships where there is little parental supervision in the home
- Unusual mood swings
- Unusually distracted
- Unusually hostile or arrogant attitude toward family members or authority figure
- Withdrawal from the family as a unit and preferring to be in seclusion when at home
Talk to your children about their daily activities. Talk to your child’s teacher on a regular basis. Be aware of what your children wear to school each day. Update their photos at least every six months.
Know where their medical and dental records are. Know their friends and their families. Know what accesses they have on their computer. Know where they are at all times. Involve your children in church, community and school activities.