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High Point Police Department invites community partners to discuss youth violence: ‘These are hard-core adult crimes’

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HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — Members of the High Point Police Department, including school resource officers, sat down with seven community partners Tuesday to discuss a recent spike in youth violent crime.

So far this year 148 kids and teens ages 8-18 have either been a victim of gun crime or been the ones pulling the trigger, according to police.

In 2020 that number for the same time period was 167.

Chief Travis Stroud said while that number is down, he’s concerned about the severity of the crimes involved.

Capt. Patrick O’Toole provided a recap of the recent violence, including a school shooting threat on social media in late September, a robbery of a delivery driver, another threat against High Point Central High School, and a 15-year-old shot and airlifted to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Hospital.

“These are hard-core adult crimes that worry me,” Stroud said.

He explained the department does not have an officer dedicated to following up with youth offenders and victims, and that work falls to community partners like High Point Community Against Violence.

“By connecting with the violent offenses that didn’t happen in our city we don’t just concentrate on the individual, we have to concentrate on the entire family,” Board President Gretta Bush said.

Teen Court Program Assistant Hilary Goldberg said the diversion program aims to keep kids out of the juvenile justice system.

“We are struggling to have time for the 140 kids that I have, that’s since school started we’re averaging about 50 a month just through our program,” she said.

Advocates working to keep teens safe agree they may have to start with younger kids. They can only help families who know their programs are out there and said sharing their missions is a step in the right direction.

All the organizations credited school resource officers as a mentor for teenagers, and the first line of defense against school threats.

High Point officers said Tuesday they’d like to have some school resource officers on elementary school campuses, but they don’t have enough people.

Below is a list of organizations and contact information available to the community:

Gretta Bush 
HP CAV 
gretta@hpcav.com 

Jerry Mingo 
Burns Hill 
jerry47hi5@yahoo.com 

Giselle Mansi 
YWCA 
gmansi@ywcahp.com  

Vickie Miller 
C3 
millerv714@triad.rr.com 

Amy Hudson 
Salvation Army 
Amy.Hudson@uss.salvationarmy.org 

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