LOUISVILLE, Ky. — More young people are becoming victims of homicides and suspects of violent crimes in Louisville. Mayor Greg Fischer was joined by Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods, JCPS and other groups Monday to kick off National Youth Violence Prevention Week.
The initiative is designed to raise awareness about youth violence and highlight prevention strategies involving youth, parents teachers and schools.
"You know we talk about it a lot, you can't arrest your way out of this problem," Councilman Markus Winkler of District 17 said.
A recent report released in March my a Metro Louisville committee shows 2020's violence, the deadliest year in the city, had a link to COVID-19 restrictions. Mayor Fischer believes the closures of community centers and schools during the early months of the pandemic played a role in the spike.
"This is a terrible national trend that's going on right now we're seeing kids as young as 13-years-old involved car jackings involved with gun violence I mean guns are everywhere right now," Fischer said.
So far this year about 12% of homicide victims are 17 years old or younger and almost 20% of the suspects are between 18 to 24 years old, according to LMPD's homicide weekly report.
"What we know is that we got to co-produce public safety in other words the citizens and police have got to work together," Fischer said.
The city's youth implementation team has 16 college and JCPS high school students meeting virtually this year and participating in activities that build advocacy and civic engagement skills.
Advocates say the main three steps of prevention are looking for warning signs, acting immediately, and talking to an adult.
"Everybody can and should do something," OSHN director, Monique Williams said "An act of educating yourself or someone else, collaborating with a youth serving organization, generating an idea."
As a part of Youth Violence Prevention Week, there will be a variety of virtual and in-person activities this week that will include virtual art shows, spoken word and anti-violence campaigns. To learn more click here.