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Leon County Neighborhood Combats Youth Crime

At first glance, Lakewood Ranch seems like a quiet neighborhood, but a storm's been brewing on these streets for more than a year.

Vernita Boykin, Lakewood Ranch resident, "In the last two years, there's been a lot of things happening in the neighborhood, where kids are going in cars just to get change to go to the store."

Boykin says the problems were fueled with the sudden increase of kids moving into the neighborhood, most of them moving from Tallahassee. But, when you ask her, she stops herself short of saying it's a problem with bad kids instead, she blames it on not enough for them to do.

Fed up with the increase in crimes, the residents are taking their neighborhood back and they're starting with the kids. The first step, a summer enrichment program.

Barney Johnson, Lakewood Ranch resident, said, "It will help them understand what it's about as far as respecting others property, it will help them to understand that a community

More than thirty kids have signed up so far from young children to teens.

Jaliyah Randolph, seven-years-old, "I think I'm going to have fun this summer and like to get out of the house a lot."

Boykin says the program is more than just a way to keep the kids busy, it will be about life lessons, building self esteem, but more importantly, building a sense of community.

The Leon County sheriff's office and the boys and girls club have also pitched into help the neighborhood with the summer program.


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