Vicksburg Police holds parents accountable for unsupervised children

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 6:41 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Teen mischief in the city of Vicksburg has pushed police and city leaders to take action to keep juvenile crimes down.

At the Fun Lanes Bowling Alley in Vicksburg, operations manager and mall management said they’ve been having issues with unsupervised children.

“They started coming in here and vandalizing the bathroom, going into the bathroom and smoking, going to the arcade and just sitting on it or breaking them. And then they started fighting outside,” Fun Lanes operations manager, Andres Aguirre, said.

Aguirre says Fun Lanes in Vicksburg is a well-known family establishment that has been plagued with problems.

“It is hurting my business a lot. We try to keep it a family establishment. And it’s very hard. What whenever stuff like that happens,” Aguirre said.

Last week, when fight broke out in the parking lot between teenagers, management said enough is enough and asked the city for help.

The Vicksburg Police Department posted on Facebook that “parents will be held criminally liable under Mississippi Code 97-5-39 for children left alone at the Vicksburg Mall.” The code contributes to the neglect or delinquency of a child.

“In our mall, if you’re under the age of 18, and you’re not accomplished by our parents, we can hold the parents accountable by taking a juvenile to the police department and charging them on a statute that says that, that it’s neglect and abuse for a parent to do that,” Mayor Flaggs said.

According to the Police Department’s post, if a child is left unsupervised, parents will be fined $672.25 per child.

While the law may seem harsh to some, Mayor Flaggs said the goal isn’t to punish parents, but keep children safe.

“We don’t want to use this but is a tool in which we can assist the police department with what holding parents accountable and at the same time keeping law in order in our public places,” Mayor Flaggs said.

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