Houston’s Fifth Teen Slaying Attributed To Gang Wars


Houston’s fifth local teen slaying in under three weeks was followed the next day by the killing of a 14-year-old a few blocks away who reportedly had talked too much about the crime, says the Houston Chronicle. The wave of killings left community leaders scrambling for explanations and solutions. “I guess it’s just a sign of the times,” said Howard Jefferson, a former school administrator and past president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Houston chapter. “We’ve seen more neighborhood violence than we have in a long time.”

Some youth violence, suggested City Councilman Adrian Garcia, former director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, may result from growth of the city’s juvenile population–by some estimates, up 65 percent between 1990 and 2002. Other factors include reduction of police emphasis on gang control – a result of an understaffed police department – and the overworking of juvenile probation officers. Police Chief Harold Hurtt says his department, hard-hit by retirements, has 2.2 officers per 1,000 residents. The national average is 2.8. Patricia Harrington, director of the Mayor’s Anti-Gang Office, thinks the six recent killings may reflect a resurgence in gang violence. John Allen Jones, a substance-abuse representative at a high school, said, “We as a society are not taking gangs seriously enough.”

Link: http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/printstory.mpl/metropolitan/3979608

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