Teenagers are officially on summer break, but having been forced out of school several months ago due to COVID-19, many seem to be weary of staying home. Perhaps this is the reason for the recent concerns of vandalism, neighborly pranks, and other mishaps that have taken place over the past few weeks.
Chief Deputy Richard Maness has been working under Sheriff Ronnie Fields since day one, and he isn’t surprised by the events that have transpired.
“It is typical, let me just say that,” Maness said. “I think considering all that we’ve been going through in the world, it’s not unusual for teens to gather and be less than 6 feet apart.”
Community concern appears to be on the rise, but does the concern accurately portray a higher rate of issues?
“I can’t tell you that it’s been any higher than it has been in the years past,” Maness said. “I was at Johnson Point, a wonderful, wonderful place, over the weekend. A ton of families were out there. When we’re called out it’s usually later in the day or early in the evening when teens are gathered.”
Johnson Point, located in Seven Lakes West, has been where several unfortunate events have taken place. In fact, Seven Lakes West recently hired the Sheriff’s Office to do more frequent patrols throughout the area.
“We have full enforcement authority in that area,” Maness said. “We patrol that part of the world, but they want some extra help.”
The West Side isn’t the only area that has been having issues. Seven Lakes North has also had situations of nighttime doorbell ringing causing late nights for parents of little ones. There was also a case of a golf cart being stolen.
“The best advice is to always try to know where your teenagers are,” Maness said. “The problem has been when they gather in large groups. It isn’t anything we haven’t faced in years past. They get together, have alcohol… Like at Johnson Point they go jumping onto people’s boats. Just doing things they shouldn’t be doing.”
Unusual activity should be immediately reported the Sheriff’s Office at (910) 947-2931. For emergencies, please call 9-1-1.