Local teens hanging around, looking for trouble, may have trouble finding it – now that a new program has been set up which mandates that local sheriff’s deputies step up and intercede.
The crackdown on unsupervised teens is called – the juvenile suppression operation – and its intended to come between idle teens and crime.
“It’s a crackdown on unsupervised teens that may be engaged in unlawful activity and it’s also a safety check because sometimes there are adults found in areas they are hanging out in that can be doing things that they shouldn’t be doing,” Shirley Miller, spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station told The Signal Wednesday.
“We are also trying to protect them from that influence,” she said.
Sheriff’s officials began the crackdown this week in response to complaints they heard from SCV business owners.
“Some business owners in Valencia have reached out to us regarding teens loitering in their parking lots,” Miller said.
“So we are working with them to make sure that we address their concerns as well.”
Deputies assigned to the SCV Sheriff’s Juvenile Intervention Team – or, simply, J Team – came up with the program after discussing it with school resource deputies.
The J Team’s Sgt. Tim Vanderleek is overseeing the suppression efforts.
“We’ve been conducting them on various days and times,” Miller said about the operation. “Especially with the upcoming holidays, we will continue to keep these operations going.
“Business owners and residents relayed concerns to us about unsupervised youth, especially during after school hours. As a result of community feedback, our J Team and school resource deputies began conducting juvenile suppression operations.
“When school lets out in the afternoon, many juveniles seek activities to keep busy- but unfortunately some of the activities may not be appropriate or they may be criminal in nature,” Miller said.
During the operations, J Team deputies and school resource deputies are expected to carry out patrol checks across the SCV, in areas that are “known for students congregating.”
Areas targeted by the juvenile suppression operation are expected to include: parks, the mall, shopping center parking lots, fast food establishments, or “any location that has been brought to our attention,” Miller said.
Deputies are expected to check on kids to make sure they are safe and not engaging in unlawful activities such as smoking, consuming alcohol, and drug use, she said.
And, adults are not exempt from scrutiny.
Deputies are also expected to watch out for any adults in the target-specific areas, “as there may be some adults loitering who could potentially be a bad influence on our youth,” Miller said.
On Oct. 5, during one “juvenile suppression operation,” deputies arrested three adults for unlawful activity in a park located near a Canyon Country high school.
Vanderleek confirmed this week that “the operations will continue because SCV Sheriff’s wants to keep our young people safe.”
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