Experts respond to youth crime initiative - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Experts respond to youth crime initiative

He's just 13 years old...Just 13 and already a familiar face at Shelby County juvenile court.

In a press conference Thursday, Memphis mayor Willie Herenton says, "We all know there's been a dramatic increase in the crime rate as being committed by the youth"

It's why Mayor Willie Herenton wants to create 5,000 summer and year-round jobs just for teens...

Cheryl Beard with the Urban Youth Initiative says, "There are 5000 and more young people in this community who would be clamoring for the opportunity to work."

Beard runs Urban Youth Initiative, a group that helped coordinate last summer's last minute jobs program....back then 1000 kids showed up to fill the 300 jobs the city could afford to pay for.

Beard continues, "5000 is a lot, perhaps some would see it as a lofty goal."

Lofty, but possible, Beard says, with a lot of help.

Beard says, "The business community does have to step up and there has to be generosity from all sectors to make something like this happen."

Something the Juvenile Court's chief probation officer says is desperately needed.

Barry Mitchell with Shelby County juvenile court says, "When you have way too much idle time, you get in trouble, you can get into trouble, doesn't mean you have to but you can."

Today the teen got a second chance and he's ready to put it to good use.

He says, "I'm going to do the work...can you hire me?"

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