SALISBURY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Several Salisbury neighbors are taking a stand against youth violence in the city.
Students in historically Black Greek organizations from Livingstone College joined the Salisbury police, and family resource groups to spread awareness about the issue.
Victim advocate Alberta Mclaughlin said lately she’s seen an increase in youth violence come through the courtroom.
“What I see is…I see hurt. I see pain. I see a child who is crying out ‘I need help’. And if we could provide that help and give [them] some prevention techniques on how to do so, I think we can make a big impact,” she said.
Captain P.J. Smith said the department has seen a steady rise in the number of youth involved in violent crimes, mostly among 15 to 18-year-olds.
Those crimes range from property crimes like breaking and entering to a rise in shootings.
“If we can start identifying…some of the frequent people that we [are] coming [into] contact with, maybe we can reach out with family programs and work with the actual juveniles through our school resource officers or with other providers,” Smith said.
He also suggested partnering with the school system for youth programs after school that don’t include sports like gardening or the arts.
Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander marched with neighbors as well and read a proclamation on behalf of the city council in honor of youth violence prevention week, April 24-28.
“This is kind of our kickoff, you might say. So I’m so excited to see so many youth here willing to walk and lift up this advocacy work to find ways to prevent violence within our youth population, both between them and [against] them. So we want them to grow up and be producing citizens of our community serving as they [do] now,” the Mayor said.
Jalen Robinson, a junior at Livingston College and a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., was the main speaker for the event.
He said he wants to encourage young people about the ins and outs of life and the importance of knowing “what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.”
“This is a very important topic that I feel like a lot of states touch base on because these are our so-called future leaders and people who are going to take action around the world someday. And you don’t want them to lose a life and a life early because of what happened before,” Robinson said.
16-year-old Xavier Brown came out to support the movement. He said he’s tired of seeing not only youth involved in crime but adults as well because of their impact on young people.
“I would like them to know that it’s not death, but violence isn’t always the answer. Even if there’s something that you disagree with somebody on that you don’t like, and if somebody makes a comment that you don’t like, you don’t always have to resort to violence. You can use your words,” Brown said.