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Youth Safety Commission Idea Greeted With Skepticism

By Alan Lytle


Lexington, KY – Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's office at City Hall resembled more of a "town hall" Wednesday during a routine press conference to announce the formation of a city commission on youth and public safety. The mayor, First District Council member Chris Ford, and other city leaders say the time has come to study ways of keeping young people active, engaged, and out of trouble. Alan Lytle has details.

Ford says a recent uptick in violent crimes in urban areas has prompted the need for a comprehensive and community-wide approach.

"We understand that collectively as a city and community we must combat the impediments confronted by our youth. We must present viable alternatives and compelling options by which Lexington youth can explore and they could take those avenues to succeed."

But some community members that were on hand for the announcement, including East End resident Corey Dunn, expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of such an effort.

"It all boils down to money. It's cool to have a commission and I applaud your efforts and all that, but the problem is, the streets are starving. It's one thing for me to say, hey little Johnny, don't get involved in criminal activity but little Johnny's broke. Little Johnny doesn't have the shoes that all of his peers have. So little Johnny is willing to do whatever it takes to fit in with his peers."

Other people in the crowd suggested that local police and other city officials make more of an effort to build rapport within all, and not just some neighborhoods. Ford says community, business, social service, church leaders, as well as young people, will all have a seat at the table. The group hopes to have a report ready for review by fall.