I think the best thing to do in such a situation as the one you experienced is (as long as you feel safe) make it obvious that you're watching. Say "is there anything I can help you with?" or "Hey, what are you doing?"--something that doesn't explicitly call 'em out, but makes it clear that you've got your eye on them ...
or, yaknow, call the cops.
Yes, that, too.
sorry, wasn't trying to be a shit to you or cass, it's just this is the epitome of things that should be called into the non-emergency line. as stated above, in neighborhoods like that, most of the actual crime comes from dumbass kids being dumbass kids. the girl and i have been looking to buy a house this year, and "too many fucking teenagers" is the BIGGEST turnoff to me in most of the neighborhoods that i've crossed off the list.
trying to protect the handfull'a donewaiters in clintonville is good, but protecting everyone on your street is even better!
i understand not wanting the confrontation with a group of teens, so calling them out or taking their pix might not be the best plan, but getting a cruiser to roll down the street and roust them before they find the neighbor who HAS left their door unlocked is ALWAYS the best plan. let 'em know there are eyes in your neighborhood watching them at all times, and those eyes report what they see. having the cops roll up on them saying that neighbors reported their activity with at least get them to knock off that activity. and you get to keep your face/house/car out of their eyes.
and all you haters can shove that "stop snitchin'" sign right up your ass.
arrest those teens!!!
(god, i love being a crotchety ol' man!!!)