Lancaster plans patrol to target truants

LANCASTER, Calif. "We've looked at all the reports, and we found that during our daytime burglaries, we believe that about 90 percent of these burglaries are being committed by juveniles -- juveniles that should be in school," said L.A. County Sheriff's Department Lt. Donald Downton.

The Sheriff's Department is teaming up with the Lancaster Mayor's Office and the school district to target repeat truants.

"We've got two deputies dedicated that are going to go out every day, Monday through Friday, and I hate to say it, they're going to hunt down these truants," Downton said.

Lancaster Mayor Rex Parris said getting tougher on truants will solve a lot of problems.

"We have to start putting our resources where it's going to have the most impact, and that's stopping it from happening in the first place," Parris said.

While Sheriff's officials said a large share of burglary crimes are committed by truants, they say more and more criminals from L.A. are setting up residence in Palmdale and Lancaster, on the prowl for homes left empty all day.

"A lot of people that have jobs, they commute out of the valley. So, they're gone and they don't get back until 6 or 7 o'clock."

"Well most of the time all this neighborhood is empty, and you wouldn't believe how much crime there is right now," said Lancaster resident Javier Sanchez.

Sheriff's officials and the Mayor's Office said parents need to be advised that if their children get caught ditching classes, it could result in hefty fines.


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