Nowhere to go

The west side of Cincinnati is known for many things. Whether it is Catholic schools, sports, or foods, the west side is truly unique. Keeping this in mind, one might think that this town would have more safe places for teens to just hang out without spending money. However, this is not the case. Sure we have football games in the fall and basketball in the winter, but what about when there are no sporting events? Teens are seen as delinquents to a functioning society because of how much we “loiter” and “trespass”. The real problem lies in the fact that the government only wants us to spend our money or stay at home. People say parks could be the solution to the problem because most are free and open during daylight hours. However, lots of parks are now even charging a three dollar fee for entry. It baffles me how someone can take an open area of land and charge others for being on it in the first place. Not only is money now a problem with parks but so is the weather. No one wants to be at a park during a Saturday when it’s 20 degrees outside, or even outdoors in the first place. This lack of places to go leads to so called loitering. Teens are found walking in random stores without a purpose, not buying anything and maybe even disrupting customers. This can hurt businesses drastically, and if one business in the area is infested with “trespassing delinquents”, it is likely all of them are. People hate the fact that a lot of teens do this but they can’t be blamed, there is nowhere else to hang out. Junior Danny Russell is a worker at the Best Buy on Glenway, and he sees this loitering firsthand. Russell says, “Kids are always running around and messing things up.” I asked Danny if this hurt the business and he told me, “I feel like it doesn’t directly hurt the business, but it definitely could if the problem wasn’t controlled. Our store especially has many cool things that teens will mess with and not really consider buying,” he says. Unfortunately I was unable to interview a police officer about this problem, but I guarantee he or she would be able to identify with Danny. On numerous occasions, it seems as if cops do nothing but bust kids for being on private property. But it’s hard to find anywhere to go. A solution to this problem is a teen center. Admission would be free and kids would be checked before entering to make sure no weapons or drugs are on them. The center would need volunteers to keep it running, but the benefits of it would outweigh the high cost. Crime rates could go down because teens would be in a safe and controlled environment. Also, cops could spend more time investigating serious crimes rather than hunting down teens on private property. It’s about time that teens are given an opportunity to do the right thing.