CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There are new concerns about young people committing crimes after police say two teenagers carjacked a woman.
The 17 and 18-year-old suspects were in court on Thursday, accused of robbery and then leading police to a car chase.
Now, NBC Charlotte is speaking with the victim just a day after it happened.
The victim’s 10-year-old son translated for his mother. He is only about seven or eight years younger than the suspects. NBC Charlotte is looking into how police are responding to young people causing crime.
When asked about the carjacking, Maria made a universal gesture for utter fear.
“I was worried,” says Maria’s son, Oscar.
The 10-year-old translated for the interview with NBC Charlotte how his mother got scrapes on her arm.
“She was pushed to the ground, they got the keys, they stole the car, and they held the gun at her,” says Oscar.
The suspects have less than ten years on Oscar. Police say 17-year-old Alfred Goodley and 18-year-old Harrison Hillman stole Maria’s car at gunpoint. It happened at an apartment on the 1300 block of Sharon Road West.
Now, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is providing NBC Charlotte with numbers about youth crime from 2016. It shows more than 1,500 crimes including assaults, rapes, and even murders involving a victim or suspect under 16-years-old.
“Sometimes they get into a situation, they feel they can’t get out of,” says Lieutenant Celestine Ratliffe, with CMPD Diversion at Youth Services.
Lieutenant Ratliffe says peer pressure is likely one factor.
“Because they’ve surrounded themselves with those that are making poor choices, they may feel they have no other choice,” says Lieutenant Ratliffe.
CMPD also says youth crime highlights the need for positive activities.
“If kids are involved in something positive, they can’t be involved in something negative at the same time, if they’re going to some summer camp, if they’re getting involved in police explorers,” says Lieutenant Ratliffe.
The hope is that those activities would replace targeted innocent victims like Maria.
“She’s kind of worried to go out the road, the streets again,” says Oscar.
The victim says other than the scrapes on her arm and being shaken up, she’s doing OK.
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