KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More police officers will be patrolling the Country Club Plaza in reaction to last weekend's incident where teenagers were causing trouble in the district.
KCPD said adding more security is not to scare kids or anyone else away from enjoying the Plaza, but to ensure everyone's safety.
How many times have we heard kids say, "I'm bored," or "There's nothing to do"?
Annoying as it is, that may be what is causing large crowds of teens to gather and eventually cause trouble.
Kids were seen stomping on cars and fighting last weekend. Two kids were arrested for disorderly conduct.
To prevent that scene from happening again, as it often does when the weather gets warmer, KCPD said need parents to help.
"It falls back on the parents and understanding, 'Hey, we'd hate for your kid to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. So, we're counting on you,'" KCPD's social worker, Gina English, said.
English canvassed the Plaza for several weekends last summer when similar issues were happening then.
She talked to 108 kids and 87 of them were dropped off without an adult. The average age was 15, but English said she was shocked to see kids as young as nine. Only one of the 108 said he was there with family. More than half did not even go to school in Kansas City.
"Kids are coming from Grandview, they're coming from Belton. They're coming from Independence, north of the river. To me, that says we need to do better in finding more places for our kids to go," English said.
It shows the 9 p.m. curfew may not be working, either.
Police got in touch with the parents of every kid who had some kind of police interaction on the Plaza last weekend and sent reminders home where kids had a curfew violation in the past.
They said the reactions were positive.
"These parents are concerned and they recognize, they take their kid down there thinking, 'Oh, they're going to the movies with their cousin.' I mean, these are same things kids have been doing for generations," English said.
But most importantly, she said, "What can we do to get your child involved in positive resources?"
KCPD Chief Rick Smith was surprised to find out there are not many places kids can go past 6 p.m. on a weekend night. His idea is to have community centers keep their doors open later.
There's no doubt the solution will take a lot of community input and action.
The Plaza's curfew starts May 26, which requires anyone under the age of 18 to be with an adult after 9 p.m.