Could Money Solve Youth Violence In Shelby County?

(Memphis) Parents and crime fighters are all joining in the fight against youth violence in Shelby County.

Just this week, a 13-year-old boy was charged with shooting his 10-year-old sister in their Whitehaven home, three teens were charged with robbing and killing a contractor last year are now indicted on first-degree murder charges, and a 14-year-old was shot in the leg when someone fired two dozen bullets into her Whitehaven home.

“We need to find a way to get the guns off the street,” said Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins.

He said gun crimes are stealing the lives of our children, “and the first thing we need to do is ensure that our young people are in places where guns are not accessible.”

Collins along with county leaders think more money needs to be devoted to youth programs.

In today’s budget hearing, Shelby County Commissioner Mike Ritz asked why all community service funds go towards rehabilitating adult criminals.

He wants to devote some of the money to children getting out of the juvenile system.

“Out of the court room, back in school, and hopefully give these kids a chance at a successful life,” said Ritz.

The violent youth crimes have a Memphis gang leader hitting the streets. He’s preaching any way he can and teaching kids guns aren’t the answer.

“We got to stand up for one another and stop the violence,” said Frank Gotti.

He said so many kids idolize the older men on their streets, in their schools and on the television.

“They are learning from the older people,” said Gotti. “We got to love one another. Join the movement!”

He’s asking everyone to stand together and try to save our youth.

Councilman Collins said right now, the mayor’s budget doesn’t devote any new money to youth programs, but he plans on addressing that before the budget is passed June 30.

Commissioner Ritz said most commissioners like his idea, and want to look at the Community Service funds.

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