Gun violence kills 6 juveniles, wounds 17 in New Orleans through first week of March
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As of March 7, gun violence has claimed the lives of six juveniles and sent another 17 to hospitals in New Orleans since the beginning of 2023.
The latest incident happened early Tuesday morning when gunfire erupted in the St. Roch neighborhood. A 14-year-old boy was shot multiple times, according to the New Orleans Police Department, but is now in stable condition.
Another teen was taken into custody at the scene and police say a stolen car was found nearby. The investigation remains ongoing.
The night before, a 14-year-old boy was killed in a shooting in the St. Claude neighborhood.
Education and social justice advocate Dr. Ashonta Wyatt says she isn’t surprised by the numbers.
“I wasn’t jarred or moved in a way that shocks me. It just adds to my anger because I’m angry at this point,” Wyatt said.
Wyatt says gun violence and property crimes among young people in New Orleans stem from a lack of resources in the home, school, and other avenues of life. She also says it reflects the poverty and social conditions some of them live through.
“What you see as kids picking up guns, I see is a cry for help, a cry for love, a cry for attention. They want our attention desperately and now they are going to means that make us uncomfortable because that is the quickest way to get our attention,” she said. “So, we have to make our schools better, we have to give people a living wage, we have to make housing affordable, we have to make bill paying affordable.”
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Matthew Dennis, founder of the Assured Supervision Accountability Program, says ankle monitors could help young offenders, as a means of keeping track of them while they serve time at home rather than in a detention center.
“We have absolutely seen tremendous success with many juveniles in our program,” Dennis said.
He says he tracks a handful of juvenile offenders with ankle monitors and he is able to keep tabs on their whereabouts. He alerts the judges when a juvenile offender violates their sentence.
“If they know that if they leave there is a price to pay, they will stop leaving. I make them go to school. I make them attend their meetings. I make sure they do all of this stuff,” Dennis said.
As of right now, the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court does not have an ankle monitor program, and Dennis says he is willing to step in and help. But he wants to see juvenile judges be more accountable and hands-on in the process to help curb juvenile crime.
We reached out to the juvenile court for comment but have not heard back.
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