Crimewatch: Teen Curfew - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Crimewatch: Teen Curfew

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This is the time of year police say they see a spike in crimes. They attribute the rise to the end of the school year. Police say when kids aren't in class, many are out breaking more laws.

It wasn't hard to find juveniles breaking curfew, when they're supposed to be in school.

Officers in plain clothes and in uniform are targeting southeast Austin, the Dove Springs area. Police say they just finished a burglary operation here and want to keep it as crime free as they can. They get a lot of calls from residents about car and home break-ins. Police link that to teens, who skip school.

"The kids who aren't in school who are skipping, you know they've already made a bad choice to not be in school and often times those bad choices continue breaking into breaking into cars, breaking into homes," said APD SPO Joshua Visi.

FOX 7 followed officers and that were making stops in no time. Police caught a 13-year-old skipping school. They say he was hanging out with teens that have criminal records of breaking into homes and cars. Police say the 13-year-old doesn't have a criminal history yet.

"Why do you want to start doing that break into homes and cars?" Fox 7's Jenni Lee asked the teen.

"To get money," the teen replied.

Violating curfew is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine no less than $50.

At the next stop, police say this man has been flagged for his violent tendencies and for having a switchblade. Police initially stopped him because he looked like a teen. At first, Jeff isn't happy about FOX 7's presence. He eventually calms down.

"Just want to ask you a couple of questions. Do you know why you're sitting in the back of a cop car? They say there's a warrant for your arrest, do you know what that's about? Jenni Lee asked.

Jeff replied, "I just got out of jail, how can there be a warrant for my arrest? Why you gonna stop someone if they ain't doing nothing that's going about their way, you know what I'm saying?"

The last stop involved four teens. Police say they have gang affiliation and all have long records of breaking into homes and cars. Police found a bong on the 17-year-old. They say this 15-year-old stole his own mom's car, which is contrary to what he told me.

"Your mom's the one who called the cops cause you stole her car. I thought you didn't do anything?" Jenni Lee said to the teen. Erwin:

"No, I didn't do anything today, not right now," Erwin replied.

Carlos, 15, says he knows what life holds in store for him if he keeps on this track.

"Most likely, I'll get locked up and get some time, other than that, if I don't, I'm in a gang, I might get shot," Carlos said.

The truth is sad to hear. Truth doesn't seem to faze this 14-year-old girl from Bastrop. She sees nothing wrong with dating the 17-year-old, the oldest in the group. Police had a lot of questions.

"How you got to be on this side of town, you don't even live here, you live in Bastrop, and you're supposed to be in school?" APD Leticia Campa asked the girl.

She is eventually reunited with a very unhappy mom.

Even though the school is coming to an end, police are encouraging the public to call 911 if they see kids skipping school. Again, this is the time of year when teens skipping school is linked to a spike in car and home burglaries.

"If they see somebody in the neighborhood who has a youthful appearance who looks like they should be in school, just simply call 911," Visi said.

Remember call 911 for crimes in progress and call 311 after the crime has already happened.

Curfew for those under 17 is 9am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday during the school year. There is no daytime curfew for teens during the summer.

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