AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A 13-year-old was shot early Thursday morning in a drive-by shooting in Aurora, prompting a conversation about youth violence in the Denver metro area this summer
Police say there was another drive-by shooting at the same home within the last two weeks and it’s gang-related. But will more gunfire like this be on the horizon with young people this summer?
Local advocates like Jason McBride, a secondary youth violence prevention specialist with Struggle of Love Foundation, is fearful this could be the worst summer yet.
“We’re failing kids in every aspect of their lives,” McBride said.
Interim Aurora Police Chief Art Acevedo shared those concerns at a news conference about the shooting that injured the 13-year-old.
“I do share that concern. Will it be the worst? I hope not, but we are going to be hoping for the best, preparing for the worst, as a police department. I think our partners across the region will do the same,” Acevedo said.
Youth violence peaks during summer months
According to Colorado Bureau of Investigation data, violent crime committed by minors in Aurora has hit its peak in the last five years during the “out-of-school” months.
McBride said the root causes need to be addressed.
“We haven’t addressed any of the issues that is driving youth violence in this city. We haven’t talked about education, we haven’t talked about socially what these kids are going through, mentally, what social media does to them and how social media drives these things,” McBride said.
Whatever the reasoning, Acevedo said it still falls back on parents.
“To parents and to the business community, they say an idle mind is a devil’s playground, and the summer just started across this region. Know where your kids are at,” Acevedo said.
The chief and McBride both said finding a job for your child is a good way to keep them out of trouble. McBride hopes there can be a sort of job bank for this in the future.