City will beef up patrols to combat vandalism
Canal Winchester will beef up patrols this summer to help curb vandalism and petty thefts committed by juveniles who are out of school.
Issues of vandalism over the past year, including an incident at the skate park, several incidents along Kramer Street near the water treatment plant and recent vandalism to the Stradley Park fountain, prompted city staff and the Fairfield County Sheriff's Department to increase car and foot patrols by deputies and to call on residents to be vigilant about reporting suspicious activity.
Mayor Michael Ebert said the estimate on the fountain damage is about $300.
"We don't have an invoice for the fountain repair yet, but we estimate it to be between $200 to $300 -- which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but $300 here and there begins to add up, especially for really unnecessary expenses," Ebert said.
"We get several resident complaints about disturbances and curfew violations, which the sheriff's deputies do respond to, but we also ask parents to please talk with your children so they know when they are to be off the streets."
Canal Winchester has a curfew that requires everyone younger than 18 to remain inside between 11:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless they're accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.
Sgt. Jared Collins of the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office, said officers had good success over spring break using more unmarked cars and targeted patrols. He anticipates these will be used throughout the summer months as well.
"With school ending, I'm going to evaluate where we're at and we're going to have some additional staff and unmarked patrols, like we did during spring break," Collins said. "We kept a good lid on things then, and by putting out the message right off the bat about curfew and enforcement, we hope to prevent some kids from getting themselves into trouble."
For those kids who do get into trouble, and it is a first offense, the Juvenile Diversion Program may provide them with a second chance.
"The program is intended to give juvenile first-time offenders a chance to prevent formal charges being filed against them and requires them to do one, or all, of the following: write letters of apology, essay writing, attend counseling or theft education programs, house arrest, early curfew and restitution," Ebert said. "They also can't violate any laws or leave the county for an extended period of time without notifying the clerk of courts."
Ultimately, both Collins and Ebert are hoping that with parental and resident involvement, this will be an enjoyable summer.
"Let's make summer a fun time and not a time to worry about where our children are, what they're doing or who they are with," Ebert said.
More information about curfew, park regulations and the Juvenile Diversion Program is available on the city's website at www.canalwinchesterohio.gov.