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EDITORIAL: York City Police need to roll up rink troublemakers

York Dispatch
YorkDispatch

York City kids need activities to keep them off the street and out of trouble.

We hear that all of the time, and for the most part we agree with it.

But one activity – Roll 'R' Way Family Skating Center's "bargain nights" – seems to be having the opposite effect.

Neighbors of the Vander Avenue facility – including one city councilwoman – said every Sunday juveniles flood their streets after the rink's 9:30 p.m. closing time, vandalizing property and terrorizing residents.

Some of the neighbors, who said the problem has been going on for months, attended a recent council meeting to ask for help – and warned "something bad is going to happen" if they don't get it.

To be clear: What they are describing isn't a group of boisterous youths, just a little too loud and a bit hyper after a night out with friends.

These kids are looking for trouble, plain and simple. They hurl rocks at residents and their homes and walk down the middle of the street shouting obscenities.

"I'm terrified," said William Bolt, who showed council members a golf ball-sized stone thrown at his head about three weeks ago.

Anita Banks, whose windows have been broken several times by flying rocks, said she's worried some of her neighbors "are going to react, and they're going to react violently."

Councilwoman Carol Hill-Evans, who lives in the neighborhood, confirmed the activity, and Councilman Michael Helfrich went to the neighborhood on a recent Sunday to assess the situation for himself.

He said he saw a few dozen kids walking in the middle of the street, harassing motorists and yelling "all sorts of things that you wouldn't say in church."

Even the owner of Roll 'R' Way, Frank Quintin, acknowledged a handful of his Sunday crowd "caused choas" on their way home, although he added the vast majority are "great kids."

Some want the council to use city nuisance ordinances to shut down the rink's bargain nights – but that hardly seems fair to the 200 to 400 kids who know how to behave.

Before it comes to that – or something worse – we think city police should step in. After all, they know exactly where and when the trouble is occurring.

Let's arrest these particular kids when they damage property or assault residents with rocks.

Take them in when they threaten others or disturb the peace.

Hold them – and their parents – responsible for their actions.

We have a feeling that will take care of the problem in short order.