ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Summer has officially begun for most students in south Georgia.
Dougherty County police say they tend to see a spike in crimes like car break-ins, burglaries, and criminal trespassing during the summer months due to kids having more time on their hands.
"Once they're bored and don't have nothing to do, they're going to try to find something to do and unfortunately they tend to commit crimes and once they commit crimes and begin to get involved in it then it's just a whole downward spiral," DCP Sgt. Robert Richard said.
He encourages parents to enroll their children in a summer program to keep them off the streets and out of trouble.
"We want kids to go out there and have fun, of course, but don't let your fun cause somebody else hardship," he said.
There are a number of summer programs in Albany aiming to do just that. The New Visions Community Development Affordable Summer Program offers educational programs, including math, science, English and Spanish. Students go on field trips and also will get breakfast and lunch each day.
"They'll know that they have a safe place that they can send their children to and they won't have to worry about 'Are my children in a safe environment?'," said Executive Director Andrea Revills. "They don't have to worry about their children sitting around the house all day, playing video games."
Registration is still open for the program. It starts May 31 and continues to July 21. Scholarships are available. For more information, call 229-436-7707 or email the program directors.
The Girls Inc. also offers a summer program, this one designed specifically for girls. The 'Highly Esteamed" Summer of Innovation program focuses on getting girls interested in science, technology, engineering, art and math fields.Program directors say they really focus on building girls to be strong, smart and bold, which is the mission of the 42-year-old non-profit organization.
"To date, our numbers show proof that 99 percent of the girls that have come through Girls Inc. have graduated and gone off to college and not become teen moms," said Interim Executive Director Wilena McClain.
The program starts May 31 and continues through July 15. Registration is still open.
Regardless of the summer program parents choose, experts advise that they visit the site to meet with the staff. Also, carefully consider the location, cost, hours and ask about the activities planned for children.