Officers say they can't lose anymore kids to the street

By Christy Hutchings - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) – Some teens are committing some very adult crimes. What's to stop them? Savannah-Chatham Metro Police hope they found a way.

More than a few people were shocked when a 16-year-old was accused of murder, but sadly police will tell you it's not uncommon. In fact they are seeing more and more juveniles involved in violent crimes.

At the beginning of this year 16-year-old Trevonte Edwards was arrested for the murder of an elderly man. It's teens like Edwards that has police saying enough is enough.

"It's frustrating in that we missed an opportunity to try and divert him earlier on and I think society as a whole missed an opportunity with that kid," said SCMPD Corporal Clarence Few.

That's why Corporal Few along with fellow officers with Savannah-Chatham Metro Police are stepping up to the plate.

The officers are assigned to juvenile investigations with the Youth Crime Task Force. They go to their schools, their homes, even their hangouts getting to know more and more kids.

"You work with a kid, work with a kid, work with a kid. These things go up and down. It's not a straight line going up, it goes up and down. We have some successes, but we have some fallbacks. We have more successes and then fall back again, but the trend is going up," said Corporal Few.

The officers are dealing with social issues, and trying to convince young kids the easy money isn't all it's cracked up to be. "That type of mindset is very attractive and it can be difficult to combat and peer pressure," said Corporal Few. "The only way we change it is from the inside out.  The only way to change it is to change the culture, and the mindset, and the outlook of some of the children we're dealing with."

And while it seems overwhelming when they can reach one child, it makes it all worth it. "When you see the light come on, that's what we work for.  That's what we want.  I'm not going to say it's an everyday thing, but it is special when it happens and you say, hey I reached this child or I reached this family.  That's a special thing," said Corporal Few.

The officers also work with the children's families, keeping them informed about what's going on and letting them know what they need to do at home to help fight the problem as well.

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