FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Forsyth County commissioners have begun to push harder for a clear path forward and clear visions on after-school programs to reduce juvenile crimes related to gangs.
On Monday, Forsyth Future revealed the results of an assessment to the Forsyth County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council and focused on gangs within the community and within the school district.
The assessment discovered that 10 percent of high school students reported gangs being inside of their schools, while 2-3 percent reported it in middle school.
“We also had a small number of students, out of the three thousand, who said they were engaged in a gang. I think it was just a couple of dozen,” explained Adam Hills with Forsyth Future.
The assessment looked at crime trends and stats within the city and county law enforcement agencies. It also included a survey of more than 3,000 students are more than a dozen schools.
The assessment discovered that Hispanic students are three times more likely to get suspended from school than white students, and black students are seven times more likely. Being out of school creates a path forward for gangs to try and recruit them.
Two percent of students also reported carrying a weapon, however, the survey did not specify where they carried these weapons.
Aside from a survey of students, Forsyth Future also interviewed 29 county community leaders. The contents outlined by those individuals revealed that, to beat gang violence, there needs to be a clear path forward, more after-school activities, a clear leader of the initiatives and a way to show students that there is a life after school.
Another initiative thrown out was more School Resource Officers, but a handful of county commissioners pushed back on that idea.
“The long-term goal cannot be policing our way out of the gang violence problem…we need to look at putting our money into more activities as opposed to more enforcement,” Commissioner Tonya McDaniel said.
Another path discussed was extending the hours of operation for recreational centers.