Community leaders believe the recent spate of violence at Metro locations is not just a transit agency safety issue. They said it's a larger problem with teen violence in the District.
Members of a panel discussion, called Understanding Juvenile Justice in The District of Columbia, talked Tuesday about the causes of teen crime and what officials and others can do to stop it. The office of the attorney general of the District, D.C. Metropolitan police and Family Court officials attended the event.
“What we're experiencing are that there are large segments of the population where kids are living in situations where they don't have enough responsible adults around them, giving them positive influences,” said Karl Racine, the attorney general of the District of Columbia.
Youths need services and positive role models, he said.
“The kids we see, who come into the criminal justice system, can benefit from services that directly relate to mental health issues, behavioral issues, parenting,” Racine said.
People said gangs, unemployment, broken families and peer pressure are all contributing factors to youth violence.
Some conflicts start online. According to court documents, a witness to Monday's Deanwood stabbing death told investigators that John Evans III, 15, and Jovante Hall, 20, "were engaged in a verbal altercation stemming from social media, and they both threatened to harm each other physically."
“There are individual youth issues,” said Hillary Cairns, deputy administrator of youth services for the D.C. Department of Human Services. “We really work to address the youth and the family, and often times, it is better to work with the whole family together and not just the youth in isolation.”
It is sometimes challenging to reach this generation, but these people won't stop trying.