Local News

Forum Looks for Solution to Youth Crime in Durham

Posted April 16, 2008

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— Youth violence and gangs were the hot topics at a forum in Durham on Wednesday evening. Solutions to the problems were less easily addressed.

Carmen Jones said she sees violence at her high school, especially when it comes to gangs.

"From friends that I know personally and from our school, there is a lot of peer pressure," she said.

Retired juvenile justice officer Donnie Phillips told the group that about a quarter of youth that enter the justice system are in gangs. Many acknowledge the problem is there, but a solution isn't.

"When your social fabric is one where the community doesn't believe in the school system, doesn't believe in county government, doesn't believe in the things that are important, it opens up the door for persons to look at something else to believe in," Phillips said.

A 2004 study from the Governor's Crime Commission documented more than 8,500 gang members and 387 gangs in North Carolina. Observers said both figures have grown with the state's population in the past four years.

Lawmakers said they are on the verge of strengthening anti-gang legislation. A bill calling for stiffer penalties for gang-related violence already passed the House, and many lawmakers said they expect it to pass the Senate when the General Assembly reconvenes in May.

Maj. B.J. Council , who heads the city police department's Operations Command, said a meaningful solution will curb the problem before police get involved. Once they do, it is often hard to help.

"It's difficult to get neighborhood watch in low-income neighborhoods ... because they are afraid,” Council said.

Paulette Thorpe, whose grandson was murdered, spoke of a similar problem.

“We went with the police door to door to try and get information. You should have seen how the people treat us," Thorpe said.

"It's not going to take one person. It's gonna take the whole community," Jones said.

Several people talked about the need to get young people out of gangs at the forum held at the Hayti Heritage Center, 804 Fayetteville St. One idea was to have a safe home for gang members to go to when they want to get out.

25 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • NE Raleigh Apr 17, 2008

    I feel a reality show comming on. Arrest all gang members and leave them in a jailed envirionment,left to their own devices. Let competing gangs war with one another with the only people who get hurt os them. Winning gang gets food for the week. How appealing would this life style be young gang bangers?

  • jgirl5830 Apr 17, 2008

    Animallover, all the "activities" you mention cost money, and the tax payers are already having their backs broken to pay for medicare, WIC, free/reduced lunches, food stamps,headstart,etc. If i want my child to be in activities, I pay for them. Thats the problem the parents of these kids are completely dissolved from their responsibilities, it's time they step up to the plate, stop shifting blame to the community, the teachers, the schools. Keep on doing that and nothing will ever change.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Apr 17, 2008

    Animal lover is on the right track. The kids need something to peak their interest OFF THE STREETS. It can be done. However it requires the community to support the efforts of those trying to make it happen.

    ----Would you want the people of Durham watching your kid? That is the question to ask. I like having the parent held responsible for their kids actions just like in the 70's.

  • needmocash Apr 17, 2008

    ""When your social fabric is one where the community doesn't believe in the school system, doesn't believe in county government, doesn't believe in the things that are important, it opens up the door for persons to look at something else to believe in," -Barack Obama

  • Chin-up Apr 17, 2008

    Animal lover is on the right track. The kids need something to peak their interest OFF THE STREETS. It can be done. However it requires the community to support the efforts of those trying to make it happen. I am not in Durham, but I sincerely hope the community can come together to find solutions. Also, complaining is just that complaining, it doesn't solve a growing problem. It takes actions, not just words.

  • OrdinaryCitizen Apr 17, 2008

    It all comes down to Parental responsibility. For the ones who compare the car industry to drunken driving that analogy is so off I wonder if you kid is one of the problems. Yes I'm picking on you cause your analogy is way off base.
    Ask teachers what the issue is. I come from a family of teachers and my brother in law just won a Presential Award for teaching mathmatics. He will say its the parents.
    Personally he feels that if a kid acts up then the parent should come to school with him the next day till he behaves himself. Try having a parent miss work and that kid will behave quickly. Don't allow the kid back in school unless he comes with his parent. If the parent can't make it then the kid is sent to a Juvenile detention center or the parent goes to jail. Extreme measures are needed in Durham now.

  • batcave Apr 17, 2008

    this is a cultural issue AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT.

  • ccsloop Apr 17, 2008

    ""When your social fabric is one where the community doesn't believe in the school system, doesn't believe in county government, doesn't believe in the things that are important, it opens up the door for persons to look at something else to believe in," Phillips said.""

    Bingo, sounds like reading the "Godfather"

  • Raptor06 Apr 17, 2008

    I'm sure the next meeting will discuss parental responsibility. So much is normally blamed on the state and the gun industry. I don't know about any of you, but I don't blame the automobile industry for the actions of drunk drivers, so why...(you all know the rest of the statement).

  • Dave Green Apr 17, 2008

    I'm for parental responsibility and accountability. We need to hold the parents directly responsible for the actions of their kids. Let's toss mom and dad in the pokey if their child breaks the law.

More...