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Police officers talk about ways to keep kids safe and off the streets

Fifth Public Safety Forum.JPG

YAKIMA Wash. -- The violence in Yakima has many people concerned, especially parents with teenagers at home.

Resident Dorothy Siegmeth who showed up to the fifth public safety forum this year says, she is worried about her grand kids safety because she has heard of violent acts happening between teenagers, especially after school.

“A friend of ours had a son that they finally changed his school because it bothered him so much he didn’t want to go anymore he just wanted to quit,” said Siegmeth.

Federal data shows two out of five gang members are under the age of 18 and that number increases in rural areas like Yakima.

Several people have showed up to previous public safety forums with the same concerns about their kid’s safety and their neighborhoods.

Councilwoman Dulce Gutierrez who hosts these forums says this is a great way for them to hear about what is going on in each neighborhood, so that they can find solutions once all the forums have been completed.

Lieutenant for the Yakima Police Department Chad Stevens, who spoke at the forum today, says the best way for kids to be safe is for their parents to constantly be checking up on them.

“Parents need to parent their kids. They need to know where they’re at and as much as it’s not fun, you have to be nosy with the children. You need to ask them where they’re going, who they’re going with and check up on them,” said Lieutenant Stevens.

Lieutenant Stevens also says schools have resource officers who patrol the schools before and after classes to make sure kids are always safe.

Getting kids involved in after school programs or sports could also help kids stay occupied and keep them off the streets.

Two other public safety forums will take place during the next couple of months so everyone is welcome to attend, and learn more about crime prevention and neighborhood patrolling.

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