Seeking solutions to the spike in violent crime by young people, the U.S. Conference of Mayors opened a two-day summit in Miami yesterday to discuss the best ways to deal with at-risk youth, the Miami Herald reports. At the top of their list: restoring federal funding that paid for scores of community police officers who helped cut crime to historic low levels. They also want federal funding to boost education and social-services to help families of troubled youth.
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, vice president of the organization, pointed to the increase in low-cost assault weapons that have flooded the city. ”These kids are walking around with weapons that are used in war,” he said. He cited the increase in the use of assault weapons in Miami. In 2005, there were three killings involving AK-47 assault-type weapons. Last year, that figure jumped to 14. The conference also brings together a cross-section of federal and municipal law enforcement officers, and school superintendents to discuss a hodgepodge of issues that factor into the increase in crime: high-school truancy and dropout rates, jobless youth, gang violence, and lack of after-school programs.