The Chief's Blog
Juvenile Disorder Issues in Marysville
February - 2014
When groups of unruly young people gather in and around city parks and incite disorder, police are the ones who are called in to resolve the situation. But this is not solely a police issue. It’s a community issue, and we need the support of the community to solve it. Your Police Department is going to be taking stronger action than before, but all the police work in the world won’t provide an abundance of safe gathering places and fun activities for teens. Nor can it suddenly convince parents of these young people that their lack of supervision is unacceptable.
First, there is nothing wrong with children younger than 18 enjoying the amenities our city offers. They are as entitled as anyone else to visit our parks and business districts. Those young people who are well behaved, appropriately supervised and acting within the law are not my concern. It is the few who incite violence, intimidate others, impede traffic, deal in illicit drug or alcohol use, participate in gang violence and violate other laws who will be the focus of police attention.
Police Department efforts will be to enforce ordinance violations and create a safe place for all citizens to enjoy. This means we will arrest and detain juveniles who are breaking the law and no longer will we give numerous warnings. Young people breaking the law will be cited and apprehended, and their parents or guardians must come to the Police Department in order for them to be released from custody. Their parents need to know about their behavior and know that we will be holding them responsible for it. Parents need to know it is unacceptable to let their unsupervised and unruly children wander the city.
In answering your phone calls and comments to the police department, expect to see increased numbers of arrests for this type of conduct at city parks. At this time, the city parks have been primary locations at which problems have arisen, however, if issues pop up elsewhere, we will take the same actions there.
But here’s where the rest of the community comes in. I have heard many citizens stating that there are no longer many entertainment outlets for youth in our area. We were all teenagers once, and most of us just wanted to go hang out with our friends somewhere on weekends or after school and have fun. Today’s young people want that too and we can work together to provide that for them. In addition to organized after school activities, several organizations such as the Sutter Yuba Friday Night Live www.fridaynightlive.com and the Allen Scott Youth Center www.allynscottyouthcenter.org are working hard to provide safe and enjoyable options for our local youth.
This is where we need our community partners. We can lament the disorder and espouse negativity. Or we can do something about it as a unified community. We’re asking you, businesses and organizations of Marysville, to step up and get involved with the issues. Would your company sponsor a night of fun for youth? Would your church be willing to organize activities? Would your civic group be able to provide access to a fun and safe place? We’re open to suggestions. Perhaps a free movie or concert, karaoke, sports tournament, game night, dance party or anything where young people will want to gather with their friends and enjoy themselves. It is clear that these outlets for our city’s young people are needed year-round.
If any of these options appeal to you and you need assistance in getting connected with youth focused organizations or just have questions about how you can help, please do not hesitate to contact your Marysville Police Department. We will identify by name the Community Oriented Policing Officer assigned to your specific area. That officer can assist you with questions and ways to get involved.
The police department is committed to addressing the issues of young people causing disorder within our city. However, due to budget constraints we simply can’t provide entertainment venues for them. But many of you within our community can. Ideally, there would be so many other enticing options for teens that they won’t want to just hang out at city parks and create mischief. It is with this that I ask for you to invest in our local youth. I ask that you become involved in seeking out creative and organized ways to reach this segment of our young population and help your Police Department to steer these children toward safe and constructive ways to occupy their time.
I pledge to do whatever we can from a public safety perspective to make the parks a safe and enjoyable destination for everyone, but we can’t do it without the help of the community that we serve.
David L. Baker
Chief of Police