NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A local community group is speaking out about what they call a rise in homicides in North Charleston.
The Community Resource Center will hold a press conference on Tuesday at its location in North Charleston.
“As a community, we must all work together to end this senseless gun violence,” said Louis Smith, the Co-Founder of the Community Resource Center.
“The ages of the victims and the alleged killers have gotten very young and that’s very scary because the younger and younger these gentlemen get we have to start asking ourselves what type of culture are we embracing,” said Shakem Ahket, the Co-Founder of the Community Resource Center.
That change has prompted Smith, Ahket and other members of the community to address how they handle interacting with teenagers.
Charleston County Councilmember Teddie Pryor and Pastor Thomas Ravenel will be in attendance along with the United Black Men of Charleston County.
“We have to start understanding a little better what they’re watching on television, what they’re looking at on YouTube, what type of music (they are listening to), and what type of activities that they’re dealing in,” said Ahket.
Gaming, sports, and building apps are some of the activities that Ahket says the children he interacts with like to do in their free time. He says young people he knows are interested in careers in coding and graphic design.
Ahket thinks that involving parents is a key way to help decrease gun violence, but there are roadblocks to the initiative.
“Getting (parents) involved is kind of a hard thing because sometimes they might work all day,” said Ahket. “Some mothers might work two jobs so they’re gone a lot and that leaves the children home.”
Ahket thinks that another challenge is that parents might not be as technologically savvy compared to their children.
“I think this is where we get disconnected between parents and kids because parents don’t really know how to do a lot of this stuff,” said Ahket.
The North Charleston Police Department provided data about gun violence in the city for the past three years.
In 2022, there have been 11 homicides spanning from January 1 to April 25. That number is up from the same timeframe in 2021, which included six homicides, and in 2020, which included five.
In total, there were 23 homicides in 2022 and 38 homicides in 2021.
The number of shootings also increased through the first four months of the year from 2020 (25) to 2021 (38). There have been 34 shootings so far in 2022.
“We have to teach (the children) to swallow their pride. Retaliation isn’t a must,” said Ahket. “Sometimes it’s best to walk away. It’s cool.”