Burlington city leaders consider youth task force to curb violence

BURLINGTON, N.C. -- If you drive down Vance Street in Burlington, you’ll find a memorial set up.

It has flowers and balloons, along with the grim reality of what happened there earlier this month.

On Nov. 7, police found 17-year-old Travonte Compton shot inside of a car. He would later die on the scene.

This week, police charged 17-year-old Najee Moore with murder.

“Burlington’s crime rates are not out of line with other communities across North Carolina, but it is something that Council Member [Kathy] Hykes and I are both very passionate about. I have to credit her because she has been out in the community and neighborhoods all across Burlington working with residents who want to see more action taken,” Mayor Ian Baltutis said.

At a conference in Charlotte, Mayor Baltutis and council member Kathy Hykes talked about an idea.

The idea was to create a youth task force.

“I want to see a task force that really engages members of all ages and demographics across our community. I think that is absolutely critical to getting a good perspective on the issues facing youth members and what leads them to violence,” Baltutis said.

The numbers tell the story.

There have been there murders and 105 violent offenses by juveniles, accounting for 28 percent of all violent offenses in the city.

It’s a reason Baltutis says the task force is needed.

“This task force is really going to be a model example for including all generations, especially millennials and young leaders in our community,” he said.

The concept is still in its early phases, but it’s something council members want to really take a look at during their work session in December.