Charlotte City Council committee continues discussion on youth violence

Monday's meeting was part of an ongoing effort seeking actionable solutions to reduce juvenile crime in the Queen City.

Charlotte City Council committee discussed ways to try and reduce youth violence and crime at a meeting on Monday.

One of the things city leaders are working to do to prevent recidivism is to provide wrap-around services, not only for kids but also for their families.

Leaders said that working on the child and not the household makes the work null and void.

“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” CMPD Deputy Chief of Investigations Tonya Arrington said. “We arrest them, we return them to their parent [and] sometimes the parents are like ‘I don’t want them here, I can’t control them need help.'”

Arrington said as Charlotte leaders work to prevent more kids from entering the judicial system, they’re also working to close the revolving door for the ones who keep coming back.

“Our officers can’t continue to play the catch and release and simply deal with the same issues over and over again,” CMPD Chief of Police Johnny Jennings said.

CMPD leaders said one of the reasons behind many juveniles being released is the lack of space and beds available.

Recent data shows the top 10% of crime over the past three years is from the same 385 juvenile repeat offenders, making up for more than 3,000 arrests.

Charlotte leaders discussed working to repair families and communities by ensuring people have access to the right resources after enduring stress and witnessing trauma.

“It really helps us focus on those trauma-informed practices making sure we have resources to people that need them from providers that like them and accept Medicaid,” Tracie Campbell, with Violence Prevention, said.

Leaders also discussed plans to connect community-based organizations to their 100-youth advisory council to get more insight from middle and high schoolers about issues they are experiencing every day.

“They’ve experienced a lot of stress and trauma and violence we know they have something to say, and we want to ensure their voice is heard,” Campbell said.

The Housing, Safety and Community Committee provided feedback on a proposed approach to youth and stakeholder engagement. The committee also received an overview of data and statistics and heard about the Mecklenburg County Community Violence Strategic Plan.

The discussion comes after a 17-year-old was shot and killed Friday night outside of a north Charlotte restaurant. At this time, police are still searching for a suspect connected to that incident.

Monday’s meeting was part of an ongoing effort seeking actionable solutions to reduce juvenile crime in the Queen City. Last year alone, CMPD reported a 34% increase in the number of juveniles who were arrested.

“The plan is to see a reduction in homicides and gun-related assaults by 10% each over the course of five years,” Tracie Campbell, with the Mecklenburg County Public Health Office of Violence Prevention, said.

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