Summer is a fun season but it's also the most dangerous time of the year for young people who drink underage. In most cases the alcohol comes straight from parents' cabinets.
Columbia County Juvenile Judge, Doug Flanagan says, "All these children are no longer in school every day. A lot of them are left at home, alone and unattended, and crime does have the attendance to go up."
Nearly 2,000 cases were recorded last year in Columbia County alone when it came to juvenile or petty crimes, and some of them weren't just underage drinking. Some resulted in death, or serious injuries.
Flanagan says," An increase in burglaries, criminal trespasses, people will enter people's other houses a lot of times when they're strolling through the neighborhood. It's the old thing when you hear from your children. I am bored and I have nothing to do. The old adage that the devil finds work for idle hands is true. "
Judge Flanagan says idle hands come in play mostly over the summer when teens want to drink alcohol.
Judge Flanagan explains," It goes up in the summer again because if you have alcohol in your house, or beer and wine in your house and children are home everyday... Their friends will talk them into trying alcohol."
Courtney Elledge reporting, "The reality is, if your teen decides to break a law or drinks under-age this summer, they could end up behind bars."
Chugging peach schnapps liqueur as a juvenile could result in five years of jail time in the peach state, and that's not the only punishment. Judge Flanagan says they try to enforce counseling and community service.
Since summer crimes reach massive heights each year, Flanagan says there's an urgent need for education on how to prevent it, even if that means putting your child on the radar.
"Parents need to understand that they were children once, their children will try the same things, they need to check on their children on a regular basis," says Flanagan.
A simple phone call multiple times a day will not only hold them accountable, it could prevent a deadly accident.
The Judge says putting kids' cell phones to good use is one way to keep an eye on them. Make them send you a photo of where they are so you know they're where they're supposed to be.
He also suggests enrolling your kids in summer camps and programs so they have something to keep them busy.
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