New Initiative Expected to Curb Youth Violence
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Seventy-one murders in Metro Louisville so far this year, almost 20 more than all of 2014.
On Tuesday city leaders launched a new initiative they hope will stem the violence plaguing communities throughout the city, including areas like Beecher Terrace, which has struggled with its share of drugs and violence.
But thanks to this new initiative, the Baxter Community Center is now a beacon of hope.
2015 is shaping up to be one of the deadliest years on record in Metro Louisville, with 71 murders so far this year. Nearly 50 percent of the shooting victims, just 25 years old or younger, raising major concerns across the board.
During a news conference, Mayor Greg Fischer, flanked by Chief Steve Conrad and other city officials, announced a new initiative.
Re-Image is an outreach program run by Kentuckiana Works helping young offenders between 18 and 24 years old who have either been in or are at risk of being in trouble with the law. Mayor Fischer told the group the goal is to help them turn their lives around through mentoring, job placement and education.
"There's no question this is not easy. But what you have to do is have the opportunity out there so that when kids want to make the change that somebody's there for them," Fischer explained.
The program will focus on teenagers like 18-year-old Chase Haskins, who was caught with counterfeit money last year. Haskins admits, he also thought about selling drugs. "I'm not gonna lie,” he said. “I thought about it. But nobody in the drug game ever gets away with it for a long period of time. They either end up in jail or shot."
But now, thanks to Re-Image Haskins has been given a second chance.
"We are not going to arrest our way out of our problems," Conrad added.
Anyone can refer potential participants, but Conrad admitted many will likely be referred by his officers.
"We're trying to address the holistic root causes of crime and not just focusing in on arresting the offender but trying to change people’s fortune and their future by changing their behavior by giving them additional opportunities."
The city has earmarked $200,000 for Re-Image and will enroll 100 young people. The Baxter and Shawnee Community Centers will serve as the two sites.
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