Police urge community to step in to help prevent juvenile crime
Authorities say at least two of three vehicles were shooting at each other. On Wednesday night, Winfrey was reported missing. On Thursday, police found him in a backyard near the location of the shooting. Police say in order for crime to stop, it can’t just be them getting involved, it must start with you.
Chief Paul Sikorski says during a press conference, “I can tell our community that our 167 police officers, we will continue to do our very best to bring our young people to justice. But what we can’t do is fix the community factors that are causing this. We will continue to deal with issues of crime and violence. But if we as a community want this to really change and want this violence to slow down and stop and keep young people out of this, our community has to really take charge and be involved in the prevention.”
Associate Professor of criminal studies at St. Ambrose University, Grant Tietjen explains there is a multitude of reasons juvenile crime may occur. “You need to take into consideration that the impacts of economic inequality of disadvantaged high-risk families and the struggles that they are dealing with that. They’re struggling with a lot of issues: a lack of resources, at multiple levels that create these environments where you’d be more susceptible to being involved in high risk or deviant behaviors,” Tietjen explains.
One of the ways to get ahead of juvenile crime is by helping stop it before kids get to high school. In the Quad Cities, we have juvenile diversion programs and different services available to kids, but Chief Sikorski says he wants to see a juvenile assessment center. Tietjen explains we have several services available, but they’re not connected, “so the thought on bringing in you know the assessment center is it would bring in all of these types of services under one roof or be very efficient would give community members access to all of these things very, very quickly, very efficiently.”
However, Tietjen says a center like that could cost millions of dollars, and that’s likely why one hasn’t been created yet. He urges families to start working with their kids now. Chief Sikorski says, “parents need to care. I know if not all, the vast majority of our parents do care. Absolutely. They need to care. They need to be involved. If parents have any ideas or suspect any involvement with gangs, guns, stolen vehicles, or anything of the sort, that they really need to do some preventative measures.”
The community should also be involved in preventative measures, says Tietjen. He says they know what their kids and neighbors need in order to succeed and should help create programs. Tietjen says extracurriculars like sports, music, or a “Big brother, big sister” program would be beneficial to kids.
Police say they’re continuing to investigate this case and believe it is gang-related.
Copyright 2021 KWQC. All rights reserved.