Large Gatherings of Teens Creates Safety Concerns

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ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR-TV)— Since mid-June the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office has gotten several reports of large gatherings of teens and young adults in remote areas.

“We’ve had them in the town of Sangerfield, we’ve had them in the Town of Verona. We’ve had them reported it us in the town of Kirkland. These are occurring on either on remote state lands or farmlands obviously without the farmer’s knowledge or consent.” – Sheriff Robert Maciol, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office

The information usually circulates on social media so it’s able to reach large volumes of people. One party had nearly 200 people attend. The part-goers engaged in a number of illegal activities including underage drinking and assault.

“Some of them have been victims of crimes, whether it’s threatening with weapons or assaults or personal property being stolen. Some of the kids have reported their cars being broken into while they’re at these parties so we’re getting the reports after the fact you know so it isn’t even anything that we’re able to intervene on while it was happening.” – Sheriff Robert Maciol, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office

Another major concern is the potential exposure to covid-19.

“When you have 200 people together in close proximity with each other at bonfires outside, obviously there’s no social distancing, there’ no precautions being taken….but we’re also seeing in some neighboring counties around the state they’re seeing spikes in cases.” – Sheriff Robert Maciol, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office

For now, the sheriff’s office is keeping a close eye on the hotspots, but there are many other remote locations perfect for partying in Oneida County.

“No exaggeration there’s probably hundreds of places like this that kids can gather and no one’s going to know about it unless someone at that party makes a call or unless you know we find out about it after the fact.” – Sheriff Robert Maciol, Oneida County Sheriff’s Office

If you notice an unusual amount of care gathering in a rural area or if you see that there’s a large gathering of people that exceed the state’s guidelines, then please call the sheriff’s office or you can leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.

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