I could totally relate to the frustration of city residents over rock-throwing and vandalism by children this summer (“Rockin’ in the Free World,” 9/10). I have no children of my own, but couldn’t have been happier for the start of the school year.
My summer was plagued with problems with children in my Anacostia neighborhood. I had to put up a fence early in the summer to keep children off the property. I’d come home and the side of my house and the basement would be wet because kids had had my sprinklers turned toward the house for hours. Then they started ripping off my new fence posts. As quickly as I could replace them, they’d take them off again. Next, it was turning over my garbage can so that raccoons and stray cats could have dinner. One kid threw a water-filled soda bottle at my window; another stole a UPS package off my back porch, then handed out the goods to others in the neighborhood.
I have lived in my house for 11 years and have never had as many problems with kids as I had this summer. Usually they just rip off a few flowers. When I knew who the culprit was in these situations, I went to the parent. Most of them live in apartments nearby. Still, it’s frustrating and expensive to undo the damage unsupervised children can do. Ultimately, it’s parents who need to be more accountable and teach their children boundaries. If you’re too busy to parent, then either don’t have children or be prepared to pay up in small-claims court when they damage someone’s property.