Community Leaders Try To Offseet Teen Arrests With Programs

CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 27,000 young people 17 and under were arrested by Chicago police last year, according to a report out this week.

As CBS 2’s Kristyn Hartman learned, it also names city districts that have the most youth arrests. Topping the list are Austin, Chicago Lawn and the Harrison districts.

Mariame Kaba put the numbers together for this report on youth arrests.

The Harrison District includes Humboldt Park, which is where a 15-year-old was murdered on his birthday last week and where neighbors packed a school gym for a peace summit led by Ald. Emma Mitts.

“It’s better than doing nothing,” she said.

Her message to the community: come together. Don’t be afraid to speak up when there’s trouble.

“We want community involvement,” Mitts said.

At Rev. Robbie Wilkerson’s New Birth Christian Center, people volunteer time and money to make sure about 100 kids have a safe place to go.

“What we’re trying to provide is a new norm,” says Wilkerson, who describes himself as a former troubled youth.

With help, he found the right road. He’s trying to make sure the next generation does, too.

The new report says youth arrests have declined over the last few years. But that 27,000 number — more misdemeanors than felonies — remains something to work on.

That’s perhaps one reason the city and county have a pilot summer program for places like Englewood and Woodlawn. It will look into community needs for young people.

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