LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In 2009 crimes committed by teens went up by 26%. This is something that police are taking very seriously. Chief Don Dixon said the solution starts at home.
"I am seeing a pattern, this past year, of Gang want-to-be's. We are seeing gang signs. We are seeing gang tattoos. We've had calls of initiation rights, where kids were being jumped in school, and beaten," said Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon.
Several months back a 14-year-old girl was shot and killed, after investigators said she was caught in the middle of gun fire, stemming from a feud between two teenage gang members.
Chief Dixon said one explanation for this, is the lack of cooperation and involvement of parents.
"We are seeing a lot of disinterest. Why are you harassing my child? Why is my child here? Instead of, Why aren't you at school? What are you doing at the Wal-Mart, shoplifting?," said Chief Dixon.
Now, more than ever, it is becoming highly unpopular for a school student to speak out against another student. Police say teens today are unwilling to snitch on another student for breaking the law, even when the stakes are life and death.
"I asked, If you saw a student bring a gun to school and put it in their locker, and you knew that student was going to shoot another student during the course of the day, how many of you would tell law enforcement, or the school? Out of a hundred, maybe six raised their hand," said Chief Dixon.
Aside from more parental involvement, with school letting out for summer, the Lake Charles Police Department plans to be out looking for teens that are out too late.
"We do have some plans for curfew details, that we have ran every summer. They have been very successful. We have found out that there is a city ordinance, where we can hold a parent accountable."