KILLEEN - Killeen City Councilman Gregory Johnson believes crime rates will skyrocket this summer due to a lack of free summer youth programs.
Johnson claims the city's crime has already increased over the past year, and with kids home for the summer with nothing to do, he believes the trend will continue.
Killeen has numerous summer programs through the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and various parks in the city, but Johnson argues all of the programs cost a fee families cannot afford.
The councilman added that the few free programs that do exist are not available long enough. This leaves city kids with periods of their summer stuck at home or on the streets.
Johnson believes providing positive outlets for children until school returns should be a top priority to Killeen. He said those option should be made accessible to families of all economic backgrounds.
"We're talking low income families," Johnson said. "Single moms trying to do what she can. She cannot afford these types of programs, with these programs one child is basically a month of rent. So, I don't want all the youth whose parents can't afford these programs to be out running the streets."
A discussion on whether or not there is a need for more free programs will be presented at Tuesday's city council meeting. Johnson encourages Killeen residents to attend the meeting Tuesday at 5 p.m. to voice their own concerns about the issue.
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