Columbia Offers Events for Youth Violence Prevention Week
Monday, March 23rd marked the beginning of Youth Violence Prevention Week across the county. Our own Columbia, South Carolina offered a juvenile crimes and youth violence prevention expo on Monday evening as part of the nationwide campaign.
Lance Adams, the Youth Service Coordinator for the Columbia Police Department, said that most juvenile crimes are crimes of opportunity, like theft or gun violence. He said that focusing on youth violence means finding healthy alternatives for juveniles.
“If somebody’s telling them we’re going to show you love, that’s who they’re going to go to,” said Adams. “If we can do that and show them on a positive note that you can be successful, that you can be part of a family, but you don’t have to be a part that’s going to wind you up in jail or worse, then that’s what we’re trying to do.”
“I think gang violence is a really important issue, especially at my age, being 18,” said Calvin Williams, who helped out at one of the booths at the expo. “If you get into gang violence and you get into serious trouble, that could ruin your future such as college or jobs.”
One of the programs that Adams oversees is Rescuing Inner-City Students and Kids, or RISK. The program allows students to spend the night in jail for one night to see what the consequences of their actions might be like. He added, however, that programs like RISK are not enough to prevent juvenile crimes.
“They can quickly fall by the wayside after about two or three weeks after the initial shock wears off,” said Adams. “We have to have someone constantly there, in their face, at the schools, in their churches to make sure that they’re still on the straight and narrow.”
Columbia City Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine is also leading efforts as part of Youth Violence Prevention Week. She stated that she believes such events are important to highlight how too many kids respond to passion or opportunity.
“People [need] to recognize that it’s a community issue and not just a law enforcement issue,” Devine said. “When law enforcement gets involved that means that something bad is happening.”
She highlighted many discussions that will be held during events around the week, including those of violent offenders and the shockwave they leave behind in communities. That fear can lead teenagers into juvenile crimes down the road.
“Even if the perpetrator is arrested and ultimately is convicted and go to jail, these families — they’re still living this forever, the community — they’re still living this forever,” she said.
The Strom Law Firm Defends Those Charged with Juvenile Crimes or Youth Violence
If your child faces criminal charges for youth violence or other juvenile crimes, like drinking underage or burglary, you and your family may be worried about lost opportunities, missed school, and effects on college and future job prospects. The South Carolina juvenile crimes defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm understand your fear and can help defend these charges in court. We offer free, confidential case evaluations, so contact us today for help. 803.252.4800