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Community groups stepping up in efforts to stop crimes involving teens

Heal Charlotte is aiming to reach hundreds of kids and give them a safe place to go all day.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Within the past few months, there has been a spike in crime around Charlotte.
Especially crimes that involve teenagers.

The pandemic has played a role as a lot of programs and centers for these kids to go to aren't available right now.

With kids at home this fall and not a lot of supervision, there is concern mounting in the community that kids could be victims of crimes or getting into trouble. Community groups are stepping up to try and help kids before the problem hits.

A vigil was held for Ferrell Bradley, a 14-year-old who was shot and killed last week.

Bradley typically attended a summer camp program. But it, like so many safe havens for our teens are shut down this year.

And it’s showing in the crime stats.

CMPD Lieutenant Greg Crum said the recent crimes involving young people is troubling. 

"Victims, 14-years-old, suspects 16-years-old. These are kids that are getting involved in very adult decisions so it’s very troubling for us not just as cops but also as people."

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As we see more stories of teens winding up dead or in jail concern is mounting.

"Idle time is the devil’s workshop. That’s the saying that was always in my house," said Greg Jackson with Heal Charlotte. 

Community groups across charlotte are on the clock to fill that idle time, as we move closer to a school year that will leave many kids at home, unattended all day.

"Close the gap and catch the kids that are falling through the cracks," said Jackson.

Heal Charlotte is organizing a roundtable of community groups.

"We’re reimagining what after school looks like and possibly taking the after out of the school," said Jackson. 

Aiming to reach hundreds of kids and give them a safe place to go all day.

"The parents called me and said hey can you get a building I have to go to work all-day," said Jackson.

Jackson hoping Cares Act money from the COVID-19 crisis will trickle down to the grassroots level before kids have nowhere to go on the first day of school.

"This isn’t anything new, I just think now it’s a demand and it’s absolutely mandatory for the future of the youth," said Jackson.

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