www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-city-kids-letter-20130712,0,7949422.story

baltimoresun.com

City kids need a place to play

12:45 PM EDT, July 12, 2013

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As U.S. citizens, we have grown so comfortable with air conditioning that we tend to forget about its benefits. We take for granted in the brutally hot and humid months that the automobile we drive, the place we call home, the grocery store, our work places, all have air conditioning.

I cannot imagine how stiflingly unbearable it would be to live in a non-air-conditioned row house in Baltimore City during a hot spell (like the one we are currently muddling through). The residents seek so-called relief in the streets.

One theory about the recent rise in deaths is this: When the youth of Baltimore are forced on to the streets due to the heat, and their favorite recreation center is now closed, it sadly and unfortunately enhances the youths' penchant for finding trouble and breaking the law.

The theories about inner city crime increasing during steamy weather may hold some weight. But knowing that some of the city youth found the doors to their neighborhood rec centers shuttered, it automatically puts that youth back out on the street with no agenda.

Baltimore has to come up with alternative programs (low-budget, of course) for the youth and teens to keep them from running afoul of the law. I am not suggesting they parent the youth, but give them direly-needed choices.

If nothing is done during the putrid, hot days in Baltimore will without doubt foment new waves of crime. As Charley Eckman used to say, "You can take it to the bank."

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham