Petty crimes by wayward juveniles are increasing in New Windsor, and residents are tired of it.
When a crowd of more than 100 met last night with State Trooper James Emerick about forming a Community Watch for their neighborhoods, the two-hour session erupted with demands from the audience that town officials, residents and police take action against rising criminal activity and the youths that "everyone knows" are responsible.
Donna Alban, one in the crowd jammed into the town fire hall, said, "I'm scared to death to let my children out in the front yard, it's gotten so out of hand."
The meeting was called to address the issue of vandalism and petty crimes that have become more than a nuisance to residents of New Windsor. Increasing cases of property destruction -- such as windows broken at homes, the New Windsor Middle School and local businesses -- worried the citizens.
Residents had brought their concerns to the March 3 town council meeting, and Councilman Ronnie Blacksten organized last night's meeting as a way to combat the problem.
The residents talking to the council in the March 3 meeting, attended by the town's Resident Trooper Phil Henry, often mentioned that "we all know who these people are."
One of the residents at the council meeting, who asked not to be named, had said they were talking about the children of people who rent low-income housing.
The subject came up again at the Community Watch meeting.
"We have seen these children out in the street, all hours, and you know where their parents are," said Doris Strawsburg, who owns Strawsburg Liquors. "They are at the taverns."
When Trooper Emerick suggested ways to channel the children's energy into something more positive, the audience reacted with a loud sigh.
"Do you really think that if you put these kids in a program, they'll stick with it?" said Karen Jenkins, who owns Karen's Kuttery.