Miami-Dade Launches New Initiative to Curb Youth Violence

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez held a press conference Wednesday to discuss youth safety in the county. He announced enhanced community policing in violence and poverty stricken communities.

Juveniles committing violent crimes is such a problem in Miami-Dade County, police officers will now be going into kids' homes.

"We are competing against the streets and if we don't have an alternative for these young people, the streets will win out every time," Commissioner Dennis Moss expressed.

"We are going to own that neighborhood. We are going to build a village around that kid. We are going to address the problems of the neighborhood. We are going to stay in that street. We are going to continue to be there," added Juan Perez, Director of Miami-Dade Police.

Juvenile Services Director Morris Copeland said about 4,000 kids go through his system each year. Most are not violent, repeat offenders.

"That small population that is left, that is the problematic population of young people, is probably around 350 to 400 kids," Copeland explained.

25 officers are receiving special training. Each will develop a one-on-one relationship with one repeat youth offender. The idea is to create a mentor-mentee situation.

Police will concentrate resources in about four of the county's high crime zip codes. After school programs will be enhanced. Summer work programs will be expanded, creating thousands of new jobs for kids.

6-year-old King carter, allegedly shot and killed by teenagers, is one recent example of youth violence. A February shootout outside Miami Carol City High School is another.

Authorities know they're not going to completely stop kids from committing crimes, but they said addressing violent, repeat offenders can make a difference.

"If we can divert one youth, it's worth it. So we intend to divert a heck of a lot of youths," Mayor Gimenez said.

Photo Credit: NBC6.com

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