What started out as a routine press conference to announce the formation of a city commission on youth and public safety, shifted into more of a town hall style public meeting Wednesday in Mayor Jim Gray’s office headquarters. First District Councilman Chris 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,” said Ford.
But some community members that were on hand for the announcement, like East End resident Cory Dunn, expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of such an effort.
“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,” said Dunn.
Community activist Aaron Mosley applauded the move.
“I just want to let you understand the sense of urgency that we need to have within our communities. Because, there’s things happening in our communities, that have never happened before. That’s because of idle time,” added Mosely.
The news briefing was held by Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. He observed that without anybody realizing it, the task force had just had its first meeting.
“But by engaging in transparently in an exercise like this and allowing the conversation to be engaged, openly and transparently like this, we get a head start on getting things done,” explained Gray.
Councilman Ford says the group will initially focus on three main areas: (1) Safety, Health & Crime Prevention, (2) Leisure, Recreation, & Quality of Life, and (3) Economic & Personal Development.