Operation Prevent Auto Theft, a series of lectures, counseling, and other activities for young offenders and their families. is unded way in Washington, D.C., says the Washington Post. Started in December, the police-led program is heralded as a promising way to reach children and adults in the struggle to halt juvenile car theft and its deadly results. In the past five weeks, four people have been killed in crashes blamed on teenage car thieves, who use the vehicles for everything from joy riding to making getaways from burglaries and other crimes. Last week, Mayor Anthony Williams announced an all-out effort to end the problem.
Proposals for stiffer punishments are moving forward. Plans to upgrade parks and recreation centers are once again on the table. But many people involved in combating car theft and juvenile crime say young people are unlikely to change until adults own up to their responsibility — and until the government does what it takes to see that they do. Police Inspector Lillian Overton, commander of the youth division and coordinator of the prevention project, made her feelings plain. “It doesn’t take a village,” she said. “It takes Mom and Dad.”