‘I can still save my youth’: Community activists create new group to combat violent crime

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:22 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) – A new coalition is pushing for peace and gearing up to hit the streets to combat crime in the city.

“This is kind of like a lifeline we’re throwing to our community, but it is up to our community to grab the lifeline,” Shamal Carter, a community activist and chair of the new Stop the Violence Coalition, said.

“There are second, third, fourth generation drug dealers who become violent because they have to protect their turf,” Carter said.

Carter is behind the coalition and is working with a group of stakeholders who have come together to address the issue of violence.

“It is easy to talk about it,” Carter said. “It is time to put action behind our words.”

The group of police officers, activists, religious leaders, and community members held their first meeting on Monday to put those words into action.

For Carter, it starts with building trust with those committing the crimes through community events and mentoring programs.

Carter said the first action of the new coalition is to work with all involved to get mentors in the lives of youth on the wrong path. “Somebody has to make them listen,” Carter said. “If they are not going to listen to Mom and Dad, they have to listen to somebody and if they don’t listen to somebody, they are either going to be carried by six or judged by 12.” From there, it is about action. Carter wants community events and community engagement from all parts of town.

“Together in numbers we’re strong but when we’re divided, we will fail every time,” Carter said. Carter is not just wanting to focus on areas where crime is known to happen because in Carter’s mind, everyone plays a role in making the city a safer place to live and for many of the people committing crimes, they’re getting the weapons used from more affluent areas of town. “Those guns they have in their hands come from their houses because they leave their doors unlocked and their guns in their cars so my message to them is yes, you have the same problem we have here in north Jonesboro.

By addressing the issue of violence as one community, Carter believes violence can be curbed... and lives can be saved. “I can still save my youth,” he said. “When it comes to an adult, an adult is going to be an adult and an adult is going to do what an adult wants to do.”

The Stop the Violence Coalition is looking for community members from all walks of life to get involved.

Its next meeting will be on October 3rd at the Parker Park Community Center.