Activist community

Louisville Community Leaders Express Concern Over Teen Violence

Within days, three teenagers were charged in two separate homicide cases. Activists say that while the problem is not new, it is becoming more widespread.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After seeing three Louisville teenagers charged with murder in just days, concerned community leaders say early intervention in children’s lives is more important than ever.

On Monday, Louisville Metro Police (LMPD) arrested two 16-year-old suspects they charged with shooting and killing a 15-year-old in November 2021. Then on Tuesday, they charged a 17-year-old with the murder of a 19-year-old at the end of April.

In both cases, young people were involved on both sides.

Activists say that while the problem is not new, they believe it is becoming more widespread.

“They feel like nothing is going to happen to them there. [are] no repercussions. It has to come to a head at some point,” said Neal Robertson, president of the West Louisville Urban Coalition. “But we have to do our job as adults. They’re not getting the parental guidance they need.”

With the Kentucky primaries less than a week away, Robertson said issues affecting children aren’t being discussed enough, especially when it comes to teen violence.

Robertson, who has worked on anti-violence plans in the past, said he has launched a new initiative called “The Positive Paradigm for Success,” which will organize trips for African-American boys and teens so that they participate in community activities outside of their daily environment. . We’re told it could range from museum visits to baseball games.

We are told that the aim is also to provide mentors and guidance to young children.

Meanwhile, activist Brian Spencer strives to make an impact as the new principal of the Newburg Boys and Girls Club. He said hearing about more teens involved in gun violence further reveals the need to intervene.

“There are many reasons [for the issues]. One being mental health, the other being the inability to control their emotions, and the other being the resources and opportunities that these kids don’t see,” he said.

Spencer, who oversees nearly 120 young children each day, said he wanted to change young people’s mindsets and start early.

But he said much of the solution is in the hands of city leaders and he encouraged the community to take advantage of opportunities to vote in the coming days. He wants subjects such as mental health and youth centers to be at the center of his concerns.

According to LMPD datahomicides are trending up so far in 2022 compared to this point in 2021: 59 from 53. Figures show that nearly 40% of homicide victims so far this year are 24 or younger.

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