Community leaders, advocates looking to curb juvenile crime amid challenges with coronavirus

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Five of the six suspects from the deadly shooting and crime spree on Monday, April 5, were under the age of 18.

It has some wondering what can be done to curb juvenile crime.

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Councilmember Augie Tulba said, he is pushing for more youth programs to get teenagers on the right path after they commit a crime. Tulba said, he had a tough childhood, but sports saved him.

“Boxing helped me out a lot. Not only keeping me out of trouble, but it helped me pick up a discipline, you know, it taught me great values,” said Tulba.

Tulba said, kids deserve a second chance too.

“Maybe it’s something, you know, athletic wise, anything I don’t know, tennis, swimming, but then helping them get a job helping them through the process, and if they stick to it, maybe we erase their record,” said Tulba.

He said, it is something he is hoping to work with Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm on, though he admits funding for new programs is tight with the pandemic.

Connecting with kids has also been an issue since the pandemic hit.

“We need to do a much better job in reaching out to the kids that really need the services,” said Mac Schwenke, Adult Friends for Youth vice president. “Unless you go out there to the communities and reach out to these kids, you’re not going to get the high risk kids coming in to your programs.”

Honolulu police also put youth programs like D.A.R.E. on hold due to the pandemic.

Adult Friends for Youth said outreach is key to finding troubled teens and stepping in before things get bad.

“Until you’re able to connect with the youth and get them, help them,” said Schwenke. “Explore some of, all these other possibilities these kids can get involved with that in itself will be able to change their thinking.”

Hawaii Youth Services Network said starting up after-school programs when school starts is also important.

“We know that juvenile crime peaks in the hours, right after school that’s out in the late afternoon, like three to six, and so if we can get people engaged in positive activities which could include sports. It could include after school programs,” said Judith Clark, Hawaii Youth Services Network executive director of youth services. “If you give them a chance they will, they can do very positive things.”

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