Hate the neighbors and they're not even mine

Okay, this is a pick-up rant from something I wrote a few months ago. Some friends of mine (I’ll call them Amy and Chris, to muddle their identities) live in a rather nice house in what used to be a -very- bad neighborhood, and is now just a -slightly below average- neighborhood. I’m talking crime statistics in general, and the neighborhood itself has done a lot of get-the-gangs-out-of-the-area, call-the-cops-if-you-see-something-illegal kind of stuff.
Anyway, Amy and Chris have a pair of very friendly, but intimidating-looking shepard / collie mixes. Sweet dogs, love people. When the weather is good, they keep them in the fenced-in back yard when they’re not home. (Actually, they stopped doing this a month ago when one of the dogs figured out how to open the door!)
The post I made a few months ago was ranting about how the neighbor kids (ages around 10-14), tired of throwing apples and firecrackers at their own dog (who they keep on a 3’ chain in the back yard), started pitching them at A&C’s dogs. There were no witnesses, but it was rather obvious what was going on. The parents were spoken to, and discipline was promised.
A few weeks ago, the dogs started getting things pitched at them again. We know this because one of the dogs is getting paranoid about going outside again. We also know this because an apple got pitched through one of A&C’s windows. Again, parents were spoken to, but this time, the general attitude given was “Well, you can’t prove anything. It certainly wasn’t one of -my- kids.”
So, fastforward to the day before yesterday. A&C are out in the morning, and in the afternoon they come home to find some of their flower bushes that border the property hacked to pieces. C, not one to take this lying down, goes next door and asks the kid to talk to the parents. Kid goes inside. C waits for about 10-15 minutes, then knocks on the door again. Same kid answers. C asks to see the parents, and kid says, “They’re in the shower.”
C, incredulous, walks back towards his home and notices a weed-wacker near the bushes. He takes it and puts it in his garage. He then proceeds to call the police.
The parents get there around the same time the police do. Father neighbor acuses C of stealing the weed wacker. C explains that there were no adults present, and kids around, and he wanted to make certain no one got hurt. He then explains the evidence of the bushes, pointing out that obviously -someone- was using the weed wacker. Mother neighbor then helpfully points out that 1) the bushes were scratching up her car, and 2) it wasn’t a weed wacker that her little angels used, it was a CHAINSAW.
The cop starts telling the kids that they can’t go around doing stuff like this anymore, to which the kids start backtalking him, saying he can’t do anything to them cos they’re kids. The parents start -defending- this point of view. The cop takes exception to this, and mentions that this is the several-eth time people in the neighborhood have called about these little hellions.
In the end, no arrests are made.
This brings me to the worry / problem. These kids are being lead to believe that 1) their actions have no consequences for them, and 2) No matter how destructive they are, their parents will back them up. I’m concerned that they may look at this as a reason to escalate against A&C, or at least against their dogs. I don’t want to see my friends or their pets hurt, and I -really- would like to think of some way to get these fucktards some instant karma, but at the moment I’m at a legal loss.
So there’s the rant. Questions? Comments? Donations?

Sneak into your neighbor’s house late at night while everyone is sleeping. Go to the garage and get the chainsaw. Put on a hockey mask and wake them all up by turning on the chainsaw and laughing maniacially. When they jump out of bed, cut the it in half. Take some half-hearted swipes at them, missing and hacking out big sections of the wall and furniture. Chase them screaming into the night.

With any luck, they will move out within a week.

LOL I like that idea!!! Wonder if it will work on MY neighbors…

Uhm, was kinda looking for -legal- suggestions… Granted, not like that one doesn’t sound like -fun-, but I’d rather not get, say, arrested for it.

Well I’m definately not gonna condone violence but here’s the next best thing (maybe) to at least keeping the little varmits off of your property…

the scarecrow

Sadly, these children are not learning any valuable lessons this way…

On a more serious note (and probably contrary most of the advice you will receive):

If you could find out what motivates these children to be so destructive (in general/towards you) you may be able to counter it better (and without force).

Right now they have a high percieved value that destroying/harming is in their best interest (fun); if you could alter that, you would not only eliminate the problem but encourage better behavior in the kids. And although threat of punishment usually works to lower value, it has apparently not been effective in this case. …Sometimes the best way to eliminate an enemy is to make him an ally.

You may wish to look at posibly involving the kids in activities contrary to their behavior. It may be as simple as hiring the kids to take care of your yard: mowing, planting weeding, pruning… or playing with/walking your dogs on a regular basis (maybe supervised at first). Get them to feel both in control and accomplished and you may get them to respect the very things they were damaging/hurting.

This will not be easy, you will have to swallow some pride and go and have a chat with the parents (and kids) - tell them how you feel and that you wish to make amends. Apologize for your plants being too close to their drive (yes, even if they weren’t) and bring up the fact that their kids could help you to control the plants’ size for a few bucks a month. Start here and work your way to other things like the dog walking - maybe they would like to spend time playing fetch with your dogs first…

My point is that the kids are probably just looking to do Something and you may be able to direct them to a less destructive/more responsible something. Of course it won’t always work, but would you be any worse off for trying?

Have Amy & Chris considered video surveillance, which would provide proof that the hellions are responsible for the terrorizing of the dogs and whatever else they may be doing? Either that or they might try faking the brats out by pretending to leave while actually remaining in the house to watch and see what happens.

It seems crucial to catch these kids in the act of something prosecutable/actionable.

Why not try Small Claims Court? You don’t need lawyers (though it might be agood idea just to be safe) and your neighbors can send a safe, legal message to the hellspawn and their spawners that they mean BUSINESS .