SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Gun violence and teenagers, a dangerous combination.
Unfortunately, in the Springfield area, it’s happening more than ever.
“We are seeing more and more serious crimes,” Bill Prince with the Greene County Juvenile Center said. “In the old days, you know, disputes were settled by fisticuffs and, you know, and fights and, you know, people usually get up from fights. Gunshot wounds, not so much.”
He says there’s no clear-cut solution based on the laws today.
“If we knew what the answer to that was, we’d bottle it and patent it and stop it,” Prince said.
Tuesday night was another example of a trend Prince has seen ramp up in 2023.
“Two juveniles, both age 16, were presented to detention last night on charges of first-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon. They’re currently in our detention center,” Prince said.
Meghan Storey works for the Drew Lewis Foundation, a group that provides families and troubled teens with resources.
“We’ve got to have families that have that live in safe, happy, healthy homes where the needs of all family members are addressed,” Storey said. “Those wraparound services that we provide, I think are crucial.”
She says any uptick in youth violence isn’t exclusive to one area of Springfield.
“It’s not just a north-side problem. It’s, you know, an entire community-wide problem,” Storey said.
The two say adults need to do their part to keep guns away from kids.
“Our families, if they have guns, they can come and get some gun locks for those guns so that their kids, you know, it’s they’re going through a trying time,” Storey said. “[The youth] can’t get access to that gun.”
“If you can nip some of these problems in the bud, you can, you know, maybe derail them from getting deeper in the criminal justice system,” Prince said.