Durham city leaders focusing on youth as a way to combat crime

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — There have been more than 800 shootings in Durham so far in 2020. City leaders are now turning their focus to the youth as a way to be proactive when it comes to fighting violent crime.

Monday night’s city council meeting started with a moment of silence for Durham’s latest gun violence victim, a 15-year-old boy killed in a drive-by shooting.

The city council discussed ways to stop the violence.

Their latest effort involves the Wheels Family Fun Park which provided family entertainment in the area for nearly 40 years. The business recently went up for sale.

On Monday, the city council voted unanimously to purchase it and turn it into a recreational safe space for community children, in hopes of giving them a positive outlet away from the streets.

“There are a number of folks that feel like we aren’t doing enough as a city. We can’t police our way out of this and doing things like this aquatic centers recreational centers anything we can do to give our youth more options is a blow against violent crime in our city,” said Mark-Anthony Middleton, a member of the Durham City Council.

One father who lives in East Durham which is considered a high-crime area believes the facility could mark a turning point in his neighborhood.

“Our kids need places to play. This here is an amazing wonderful playground and we’re here all the time and we just need to see more of it around town,” said Rann Baron.

City leaders say the Fun Park revamp is the first of many steps to focus less on policing response and more on youth programs, mental health and job creation resources to address the crime issues from another angle.

“If people’s basic needs are met then crime will go down — that’s how it works. You take care of people and they won’t need to resort to criminal activity in order to survive,” said Pierce Freelon, a member of the Durham City Council.

Another proposal to address city crime will be presented to the council Thursday.

Click here to see what’s trending on CBS17.com >

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories