Youth violence increases in Meridian

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:05 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian Police Department has seen at least 5 violent crimes involving youth, within the past 3 weeks. MPD said they are seeing a steady increase in shootings, guns, and physical violent crimes.

“Because of the Youth being trapped. Not being able to get rid of that youthful energy in constructive ways, they’ve turned towards other resources, got information. So, now their tolerance for things that used to not bother them bothers them now. Then with the accessibility and ease of getting guns that have really kind of mad things, for us, it’s tremulous,” said SGT. Rochester Anderson.

Anderson said the youth are accessing negative information from the internet and seeing those actions out. He said some youth are not understanding that their actions can have life-long consequences.

“I would like instead of incarceration, you are going to help beautify, your neighborhood where you caused this mayhem. Instead of ankle monitors and other things like that. You’re going to be monitored by adults but you’re going to be performing acts that are going to enrich where you live at,” said Anderson.

Local organizations such as the Meridian Freedom Project, The Boys and Girls Club, and The Carter Foundation have youth programs to help kids find a path towards a brighter future.

“One of the things we’re doing right now is, we’re at Mississippi State with our freedom fellows. These are 6th-10th graders. These are young people that would otherwise be at home but instead, we’re exposing them to what they could be doing in the future. So, by having an outlook and seeing where they could be, seeing who and where they could be were increasing the odds that they won’t turn to violence because they’re thinking about something far beyond tomorrow. They’re thinking about something far beyond next year. They’re thinking about their future,” said Meridian Freedom Project Executive Director, Adrian Cross.

Cross said it takes a village, like youth programs and school districts to help guide the youth in a positive direction. Cross said it starts with kids having a mindset to want to do better and parents wanting better for their children.

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