Re: dealing with vandalism by off-site teens
From: Laura Fitch (
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2005 08:45:42 -0700 (PDT)

So sorry to hear of your troubles.

We had a resident teenager burgalize a few houses MANY years ago. It was more on a dare than anything malicious and it resolved itself well with his confession, apology, and paying people back.

More recently we had some mental-illness-related vandalism, that also resolved itself well with support to parent, medical attention, etc. It was very scary, mostly because we saw a lovely child member of our community transformed nearly overnight by mental illness.

The only advice I can give you is to keep up the talk especially with the parents of the troubled youth, and the kids of your community. Are the parents receptive to the type of support that your community can offer?


Laura E. Fitch, AIA, LEED
Kraus-Fitch Architects, Inc.
110 Pulpit Hill Rd.
Amherst, MA  01002

lfitch [at]

----- Original Message ----- From: "Robert" <robert [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Tuesday, October 25, 2005 8:42 PM
Subject: [C-L]_ dealing with vandalism by off-site teens

Sat night, 22Oct2005, our Common House street-side porch was vandalized with vulgar graffiti (e.g., "F* Eno Commons") and some of the houses' roofs and siding were hit with bricks. After the discovery of the vandalism Sunday afternoon, we called the police and painted the graffiti over after the police made their report.

A couple of members got the message to certain suspects that they ought to come clean. Sunday evening two off-site teens admitted guilt to a member of the community they trusted.

Monday evening we had a very well-attended salon with the two teenage boys and their parents. The kids admitted their guilt. The community talked with the boys, the boys talked, their parents talked, and then the boys and parents left and the community talked.

Community members at the salon decided not to allow the boys on the property until further notice and uninvited them from our upcoming EnoWeen celebration. (The brother of one of the perpetrators is still invited to our event and allowed on the property.) We scheduled a salon this Sunday to decide what the consequences should be.

Unfortunately, there has been an update since the meeting. We discovered that the hood of one of our neighbors' truck was also vandalized. Obscene words, including "F* (member's first name)" have been scratched into the hood of the truck. The boys did not mention this act at Monday's meeting.

I am interested in what other communities have done when they have had vandalism by off-site teens and whether any other community has banned a child from their community. (I checked the Cohousing-L archives with no success.)

Some background: Eno Commons is a suburban cohousing community within the (Durham, NC) city limits. Houses were built on a street adjacent to Eno Commons. The kids from that neighborhood come to ours to play basketball in our plaza, hang out, play with our kids in our meadow and occasionally are invited to join us at our community meal. Although we have mixed feelings about allowing these kids to be here unsupervised and occasionally grow weary of reminding them of our rules (e.g., helmets while riding bikes), we try to be welcoming.

If you need more info, let me know. We look forward to your feedback and suggestions.

-Robert Heinich

Eno Commons Cohousing

Durham, NC
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