Funding Needed To Tackle Youth Violence

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jul 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-08 19:57:23-04

Over the last few weeks, multiple violent crimes involving guns have been committed by Nashville's youth.

On Friday, police arrested five juveniles involved in a crime spree that sent one woman to the hospital with a gunshot wound.

"As the summer has progressed, we continue to see quite a bit of activity by juveniles or very young adults involved in violent crime with weapons," said Don Aaron, Metro Police Spokesperson.

Weapons have been in the hands of teens, some barely 13 years old.

"There's a root to every problem, and a lot of times we like to talk at the children but we need to talk to them," said Reverend Marcus Campbell, Mount Carmel Missionary Baptist Church.

Campbell started G.A.N.G, also known as Gentlemen and Not Gangsters, about two years ago. It's an eight-week program with the Metro Juvenile Courts in an effort to curb violence across the city. It's a task he's willing to take on, even when others are afraid.

"A lot of parents are scared of their own children. They're scared. They're scared to say anything. Folks in the community are scared to speak up. We need some more neighborhood watch people who are not scared," said Campbell.

Campbell said most kids don't just commit these crimes, there's a reason behind these violent acts.

"There's something behind the anger because those kids are angry. You have to be angry to do some of the things that they are doing. I did it, things that they're doing, I did it. Back in the 90's I was doing it, and it was because of the anger of me not having a father," said Campbell.

That's why Campbell got involved with Nashville's youth, but the reverend said it's a problem that won't see much improvement without the proper funding.

"All of these programs that are geared to helping the fathers, the mothers, as well as the teens, but nobody has the proper funding to be able to go forth and do even greater work than what we are already doing in the community," he said.

Campbell said he will continue to do the work, but it's a problem that's going to take more than a band aid to fix.

"I've got a lot of ideas, and a lot of other folks have a lot of ideas, but ideas are just ideas without funding," said Campbell.