Tonight is the first time we've had this problem in a couple years, but it was a very common problem for us before and I would like some advice on how to deal with it. In past years we've had kids vandalize our property, damage our car, as well as walk into our garage and try to steal stuff. The vandalism was mostly petty stuff - house/cars getting egged, broken beer bottles on our porch, and a reindeer christmas decoration was stolen had its legs snapped in half and then was thrown over our back fence (there is a path going down the side of our house.) Kids are regularly drinking and smoking pot in the path, which wouldn't be a problem if they didn't do other stuff after that. We have contacted the police every time something has happened with respect to vandalism to our property, the first time at the non-emergency number, at which point they told us in future to call 911 instead so they would deal with it right away. Calling 911 typically gets us a promise that they will send someone out, which they don't. For instances of minor vandalism we don't really care all that much, but it would be nice for them to at least acknowledge the problem and try to do something about it.
The problem is with bigger stuff. The last stand a few years ago was when my dad was helping my aunt (who lives accross the street) with some work with her bathroom, the garage door was left open because he was running back and forth to get tools, use the bathroom, etc. On one trip back over he saw a 14 year old boy in our garage going through our beer fridge and emptying it into his backpack. He started chasing him, ran out of breath, neighbour saw and drove after the kid, waited until he was tired and then tackled him. They got the kid's student card, and called the police. A day or two later a police officer showed up said we could press charges if we wanted but it was only trespassing, I pointed out that because he was inside a building on our property it was technically break and enter. The cop basically talked my parents out of pressing charges by saying it'd take a really long time and he wouldn't really get punished for it at all. He then went to the kids school on the Monday, got his home phone number, and called his mom to tell her what happened. (At this point I should probably mention that about 2 days before this incident we noticed that someone had dented our car trying to break the hood ornament off. After the cop left the first time I looked the kid up on facebook and the day before we found the dents there were wall posts back and forth asking about how much his friend would pay for a Jaguar hood ornament. When I brought this up the police told me that it wasn't evidence at all and to stop looking for stuff. My parents said they'd like to press the trespassing charges because at this point it wasn't just a few bottles of beer but about $800 in repairs they were out, this cop then said "Why would you press trespassing? They were inside your house its a clear break and enter." They also said that we couldn't change our minds about pressing charges, which is fair enough but infuriating. ) We then got a dog, made a habbit of making sure everything is locked and kept the flood lights out front on all night everynight since then and other than one incident of a broken beer bottle on our porch we've had no problems, until tonight.
My brother went to walk his girlfriend out to her car, and saw a kid in our car digging through our glove box, and two other kids standing guard. He startled them and they turned and ran. He called the police, who basically said they weren't interested. My dad and brother went out trying to find them (I was asleep at this point, but was woken up by my mom to help her look out at the front of the house cause she was nervous about them coming back.) My brother and dad drove by the local school and saw the three kids sitting in the parking lot, so pulled into a nearby street, turned off their lights and called the cops again, who claimed they were coming and insisted they go home. They sat there for over an hour and not a single cruiser came. The kids started to walk away so they followed and videotaped them and harassed them verbally a bit (probably a dumb move but my brother isn't really the brightest.) The kids played dumb when my brother asked them questions like "so where'd the other guy go" because one ran off somewhere else and stuff.
Basically, how do I get police to take this stuff seriously? I live in a town which has basically no serious crimes, and on a saturday night all the police are standing out front of bars downtown watching drunk kids line up to get in. We feel as though we've been violated, and then completely ignored by the police. I'm not saying I condone vigilante justice, or that I want to take matters into my own hands beyond getting police involved, its just a matter of getting them to actually do something.
tl;dr: Kids vandalize house and car. Police ignore. Kid tries to steal from garage and we actually catch him, police ignore for 2 days and then show up to talk us out of pressing charges and downplay it. My brother catches someone inside our car, police say they aren't interested. How do I get them to actually do something?
EDIT: My first thought was to say something like "Look, these guys have broken into my car and were stealing from us, they have put my family in danger and as the police it's your job to protect us, or else I'll just have to do it myself" and see if they'd get over here to deal with them then, but I'm not sure if even just suggesting that you're going to get vigilante would be illegal.