HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — After charging four teens with juvenile gun and drug offenses, the High Point police are frustrated with teen violence and the justice system.
“This has become a regular occurrence, not only for our agency, but for all of our surrounding agencies too,” High Point Police Chief Travis Stroud said.
Stroud said drugs and guns were found after High Point police broke up a fight involving eight to 10 juveniles. Out of the group, four were charged with juvenile gun and drug offenses. For Stroud, the juvenile label is a concern.
“Our frustration is once we make these arrests, we see the same result going through,” Stroud said. “We try to get our secure custody orders, which allows them to go into juvenile detention, do some cooldown time, get some help, but that’s not what we get.”
Instead, the four teens charged with drug and gun offenses were released to their parents. In some cases, High Point police don’t hear from the teens again. Sadly, some become repeat offenders.
“We don’t want their life to go off the rails, but the problem is they are already going down this path,” Stroud said. “A lot of the names we see are not strangers to us.”
As a result, youth gun crime is increasing in High Point. Over the last five years, High Point police say juvenile gun crime is up 28%.
Stroud said there are community groups in High Point that are ready to help teens and parents make good decisions. It’s a point that is backed up by Assistant Chief Petula Sellars.
“So they are spending a lot of time and effort to bring resources because they recognize there are problems, and they want to be a part of the solution,” Sellars said.
Sellars said a lot of the community programs are not fully utilized. To gain access to discussions that can put teens on the right path, Sellars suggests families should reach out to school resource officers. Most of them are familiar with the community and know when outreach groups are meeting. For example, the Burns Hill Neighborhood Association is holding a “teen summit” at High Point’s Morehead Recreation Center on Saturday, Nov. 13, from 9 am to 12 pm. The Saturday summit will cover topics like how to interact with law enforcement and teen gang involvement.
For more information about the Saturday youth summit or to arrange transportation to the event at Morehead Rec Center, email community leader Jerry Mingo at email@example.com.