Corey – blond, skinny, cam jacketed and of the yellow glasses fame – has gotten plenty of press and has polarised our communities. And not just here but around the world as this link to the Times Online in the UK attests. But…
…just when you thought it was not safe to go near teenagers, especially teenage boys circa 13-15, there we were on our Drug Arm beat last night having contact mainly with this demographic. We caught up with more that twenty of them at one place where they regularly hang out and can get easy access to beer. OK, some of them were under the weather and no they probably would not be my first choice of companion for an evening out. But they reinforced what I have learned with Drug Arm over the last couple of years – that these kids are unfailingly polite, courteous and appreciative of what we are doing. They horse around with each other as kids typically do but are looking out for each other as well.
Where are their parents at that time of the night? Some have some horror stories to tell about who is at home, who is not, or worse what happens there which drives them onto the beaches and into the parks. One incident recently was a sobering encounter with two very drunk and suicidal girls. An ambulance had been called and the paramedics did what they could but even those professionals were at a loss when the girls refused to be taken home. Better to sleep on the beach than go back there!!
And then there are the guys known as the Cans Krew, pictured here. They spotted us turning into Avalon and chased us down on their skateboards. They name themselves after the large cage of cans collected for recycling which stands in the centre of the carpark in which they prefer to skateboard. They were a complete pleasure to engage and reinforced my enduring impression that the youth around here have strong streaks of common decency and are genuinely interested in looking out for each other. We drove off impressed with these guys and the obvious companionship they enjoy, their intelligent engagement with our team and their humour and obvious enjoyment of life. They might not make the news in the same way Corey has but they are making their own way without that sort of attention. Its guys (and girls) like these that make the Drug Arm beat rewarding and enjoyable.