Maricopa police are asking parents to help turn out the lights on a national crime trend observed recently in the city.
In recent weeks, officers arrested several local youths after a “couple” of incidents of teens using new, yet-to-be-occupied homes to host parties promoted on social media, according to Sgt. Hal Koozer, MPD spokesperson.
The parties have left behind damage to the homes and “obvious signs” of drug and alcohol use, police said.
Criminal charges were filed again those youths in the incidents, Koozer said. Investigations continue into the incidents, said police, who did not provide the locations of the parties.
Koozer said the department believes there is a community solution to the problem.
“We appreciate the community’s help with the situation,” he said. “We want to keep the youth of our community safe and help them make good decisions. With the assistance of good parenting, we believe this problem will take care of itself.”
In a “Candid Conversation” post on its Facebook page late last week, MPD had a message for parents.
“Our city has experienced a couple instances of what appears to be a national trend,” the post said. “Teens are using vacant new-home builds to host summer parties and using social media to promote the illegal events.”
“This is very uncharacteristic of our community and likely limited to a small group of organizers,” the post said. “We believe with your help we can prevent future incidents.”
MPD is asking local parents to take an active role in helping prevent these incidents by monitoring their teens’ evening activities and social media accounts.
“Remember that an even a night of well-intentioned fun can result in a criminal stain on a teenager’s record if there is illegal activity,” the Facebook post said. “We don’t want to see that happen! Help us keep our city and our children safe.”
Police have also notified local homebuilders about the incidents.
The department asks anyone with information about the incidents to call its non-emergency line at 520-568-3673.