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Jefferson County organization fights juvenile gun violence



Pine Bluff, Arkansas – In Jefferson County, a group of people are collaborating to protect children before they make decisions that could have a lasting impact on their lives.

Law enforcement, social professionals, and members of the community comprise Group Violence Intervention (GVI). They serve as mentors to children who may be at risk of using firearms.

Before COVID, according to Juvenile Officer Eric Walden Jr., they may have seen one or two children who were involved in gun-related incidents. They are witnessing over eight times that number after COVID.

“Over this time period, we’ve had anywhere from 15 to 20 juveniles ranging from 14 to 18 that have been charged for capital murder, shooting incidents, such as terroristic act and battery in the first degree,” Walden said.

Now, law enforcement is meeting one-on-one with children in an attempt to intervene before things get that bad.

Some afternoons, GVI goes door-to-door, monitoring children who may be more vulnerable to gun violence.

“Where we can not only help that individual who may be struggling with some type of gun violence or we try to help the whole family,” GVI Director Kevin Crumpton said.

All with the goal to curb violence and keep kids on a path to a better future.

“As long as you have a mentor that can be with them through their years going through school,” Crumpton said. “It gives them a better opportunity to make better decisions.”

GVI is in need of volunteers to assist with child mentoring. 870-541-0836 is the phone number you can use to get in contact with the organization.




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