Arson Indicates Juvenile Problem

1 decade 10 months 1 week ago Thursday, July 12 2007 Jul 12, 2007 Thursday, July 12, 2007 11:35:03 AM CDT July 12, 2007 in News

Although the fire didn't cause much damage, residents want help in preventing it from happening again.

The residents that witnessed this act of arson say kids do not have enough to do in Columbia and they are getting in trouble. On Southview Drive, where the fire occurred, residents are calling for action.

"They walk up and down the street, they walk through people's yards, and they're basically unattended," Virginia Baker said.

Baker has lived on Southview Drive for more than a year and she says the area has problems. She says kids from other streets are making her street their playground.

"There's no city transportation here. There's no access to the library," Baker said. "There's no access to the swimming pools. There's nothing for these kids to do."

One of her neighbors shot photos showing youngsters setting fire to a utility bucket containing chemicals. The Boone County fire district later stopped the blaze.

And the Boone County sheriff's department later detained two kids in connection with the fire. But Baker and some of her neighbors say that's not enough.

"It's just nerve-wracking to know that I can't leave like a bike out here," Southview Drive resident Shaina Moody said. "I've got a pool, I can't even leave my pool outside, I have to dump the water out and take it inside every time I leave because I don't want my pool to get stolen. That's just ridiculous, it's frustrating."

They say they fear crime like this will all happen again.

"There's no respect for other people's belongings," Baker said.

Baker says she's tired of the garbage in her yard, tired of the graffiti, tired of the vandals, and tired of living in fear.

"Unattended kids will get into stuff, they get into stuff," Baker said. "There's no uh, parental, no one's outside watching their kids basically."

The landlord says he appreciates the sheriff's department doing what they can.

He also says that problems like those on Southview Drive happen in other parts of the city too, not just along his street.

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