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Durham Residents Work to Curb Youth Violence

Posted April 18, 2008

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— Some residents are trying to stop crime among Durham youth, a problem that has been brought to the forefront in the past week with violent crimes involving teenagers.

Martina Dunford, founder of the group New Horizons, works with young people who are at risk of commiting crimes.

Dunford blames parents for the violence, saying that there has to be a way to “hold these parents accountable."

“Your child didn’t wake up on April 18 and say 'I’m going to stab somebody,'” Dunford said, alluding to a Friday incident in which a 14-year-old boy is accused of stabbing 15-year-old boy after an argument while riding on a Durham Public Schools bus.

Prior to the stabbing incident, Durham police had charged another teen with a violent crime. Earlier this week, 16-year-old Lensy Arnette Gill was charged in a drive-by shooting that seriously injured a 10-year-old boy.

Dunford thinks the key is giving youth something to do.

“If there is nothing going on, kids are going to make something going on,” Dunford said.

Some say there aren’t enough places in Durham like the John Avery Boys and Girls Club.

The club's executive director, Floyd Laisure, said children in the area have told him they have been approached about joining a gang when they are as young as third-graders.

“We recognize that we have to help reach more young people and reach their families,” Laisure said.


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