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'Too many crimes committed by youth': Louisville mayor talks plans to remedy teen violence

Mayor Craig Greenberg spoke at a discussion hosted by Greater Louisville Inc., where he highlighted a three-part plan to address violent crime in the Metro.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Over the last week, Louisville's violent crime has largely involved teenagers, in some cases as the suspects -- in others, as the victims themselves.

They're the issues Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg is facing, just in his first three weeks in office.

First, a boy too young to even have his driver's license was charged with murder after a hit-and-run

Then, just this week, police arrested an armed teenager, Deshaun Jackson, for allegedly robbing and shooting a stranger while he was walking his dog in a park.

"It's a tragedy," Greenberg said.

According to the arrest citation, the victim, who is now in the hospital, doesn't speak English. Police say Jackson demanded the man's wallet and soon after fired multiple times, hitting him.

Greenberg spoke at a discussion hosted by Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI) on Wednesday. Officials with GLI say this year’s local agenda prioritizes a safer Louisville that "embraces development and growth."

At the discussion, Greenberg highlighted a three-part plan to tackle violent crime.

His plan involves investment in neighborhoods while getting to root causes of what leads young people to a life of crime, addressing gun violence and enhancing the partnership between LMPD and the community.

These were each talked about extensively during his campaign.

"They've been tempted into that life for the wrong reasons and we need to help provide them support before those decisions are made," Greenberg said. "Many of our youth who end up in these situations are because they are growing up in lives of poverty that are not their own choosing."

WHAS11 asked Greenberg about some of the specific tragedies from the last week involving teens.

He emphasized early-intervention efforts as a key to curb the trend.

"There are too many crimes in our city that are being committed by youth who are younger and younger," Greenberg said. " [We] need to ensure that we're focused on the future of our children at an even earlier age to make sure they have a great education, great enrichment opportunities, after-school programs [and] great mentors -- so they don't choose to do things like steal a car that could lead to such a tragic consequence."

The mayor also talked about his other priorities at the discussion, including cutting the city's affordable housing gap in half and helping those experiencing homelessness get back on their feet.

The Greenberg administration will be announcing what they call 'major initiatives' to address these issues on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. WHAS 11 will provide updates online throughout the day.

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Contact reporter Isaiah Kim-Martinez at ikimmartin@whas11.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@isaiah_km) and Facebook.

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