- Create educational programs focused on increasing high school and college graduation rates.
- Establish community information hubs – through churches, schools and social service agencies – accessible to residents.
- Provide police alternatives to arrest that help redirect youth and provide job prospects.
These and 10 other recommendations could help curtail youth violence in streets across Miami-Dade County, according to the authors of a report issued Tuesday by City of Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo and the Miami Dade College School of Justice.
“The Stream of Homicidal Violence in Miami, Florida: Making Sense of Juvenile Victimization,” lists findings from an April town-hall forum held at MDC’s Tower Theater that brought together police, educational and municipal leaders and parents of youth affected by gun violence.
The forum was organized by Carollo and MDC’s School of Justice in the wake of dozens of youth gun violence incidents across South Florida.
Watch a discussion from the forum:
“Youth gun violence is a sad, serious and a significant epidemic affecting our community,” Carollo said Tuesday during a press conference in Little Havana, accompanied by MDC North Campus President Dr. Malou C. Harrison, School of Justice Director Raimundo Socorro and Prof. Shawn Schwaner and City of Miami Police Chief Rodolfo “Rudy” Llanes.
The group stood a few feet away from the corner where 16-year-old Osmand Falls was shot to death April 5th. Police have since arrested a 15-year-old in connection to the death.
“The insights provided by the professors who wrote the report shed light on what we in Miami are experiencing and seeing in connection to this youth gun violence epidemic,” Carollo added.
“We can no longer work in silos. We need to communicate and combine all of our efforts.”
Dr. Harrison said among the key recommendations of the report is to bring communities together to create programs that will keep kids engaged and out of trouble. Early education intervention, summer camps and job opportunities are key to making communities safer for teenagers and their families.
“These are alternatives to gangs, crime and gun violence,” Carollo said.
Cooperation between communities and the police is also needed, he added.
“We can no longer work in silos. We need to communicate and combine all of our efforts,” he said.
In addition to the forum, Carollo organized a Goals NOT Guns 5K Run, Walk and Pedal event last month to spread awareness about the negative impact of gun violence in Miami.