Youth crime spikes, community leaders urge more parental involvement

Community leaders say that's one of the keys to keeping kids out of trouble. 

LOWNDES COUNTY,Miss. (WCBI)- “It starts at home.” Community leaders say that’s one of the keys to keeping kids out of trouble.

When school dismisses for summertime in a couple of weeks, leaders urges parents to know where their children are when they are away from home.

Around the area, there have been numerous incidents involving minors since the beginning of the year.

Fur teens are facing capital murder charges in West Point.

A 16-year-old lost his life to gun violence on Poplar Street in Columbus.

And 14-year-old and 16-year-old are both facing first-degree murder charges in Ackerman.

” It’s a terrible feeling when I turn the news on, and I see that another youth has shot and killed someone,” said Lt. Rhonda Sanders.

” The first layer is the shock, the sadness, and the loss of life. The second layer is how the victim’s family is involved. The next layer is the perpetrator’s family. They’re involved,” said Dr. Stan McCrary. He’s the pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.

Community members have had enough.

Violence in the neighborhood leaves several families on edge about what may happen next.

Lieutenant Rhonda Sanders is with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office. She said it all starts at home. That means effective parent engagement.

” If my child is 16-year-old or 17-year-old, there’s no reason that his best friend should be 35-year-old or 40-year-old,” said Sanders.

Sander’s plea to parents is this.

” We’re going to have to do our part. We’re going to have to do our part. We can’t depend on the police department to raise our kids. We can’t depend on teachers to raise our kids. We will tell our kids how to act when you go in the classroom,” said Sanders.

Teenage crimes and deaths have spiked in Mississippi over the last few months.

Soon, many will be on trial for murder and other violent crimes.

Sanders said it’s time to stand up and not be negligent towards your children.

She urges parents to talk with their families. It’s vital to know where your children are and who they are with.

“They’re making their own decisions. Kids need structure. If you give it to them, they’ll go by the rules. It’s a breakdown. Parents always tell me they didn’t know their child was on drugs. I didn’t know his friend sold drugs,” said Sanders.

Dr. Stan McCrary of Friendship Baptist Church said after-school programs, church events, and extracurricular activities keep kids busy.

” We have to make sure that the community and neighborhood are there to support people who need assistance,” said McCrary.

” It’s so important for us to realize that words matter. I think about how the victim is raised. How was this victim brought up? We’re taught to train up a child,” said McCrary.

McCrary said not to lose hope.

” While there is bad news, there’s still some good news out there. Once we ignore it, the world won,” said McCrary.

Parents are encouraged to schedule summer programs.
It may help establish a daily routine for your family and keep kids engaged in positive activities.

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