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State representative files bill for new funding toward Jacksonville youth crime prevention, intervention programs

Representative Angie Nixon's district saw a triple murder this week, with four teenagers arrested in relation to the crime.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The arrests of two groups of teenagers in high profile crimes this week has reinitiated calls by community, city and state leaders for solutions to youth involvement in crime in Jacksonville.

On Thursday, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of four teens, two 13-year-old boys, a 15-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy, on burglary charges from the January robbery of a Cedar Hills gun store. 

The two 13-year-olds were also connected to a "robbery by sudden snatching" on 103rd Street, also in January.

Earlier this week, JSO spoke on the arrest of a separate group of four teenagers, an 18-year-old boy, two 17-year-old boys and a 14-year-old girl, in connection to a shooting at Calloway Cove apartments on Moncrief Road that left three people dead.

"These are students who should be coming up and teaching my five-month-old later down the road," said State Representative Angie Nixon. "That's why it's really important for us to work together, and that's why everyone should be concerned. Because this is a generation we don't want to lose." 

MORE: 'We need to do so much more' | City leaders, retired law enforcement talk potential solutions to youth crime

Nixon, the recently-elected Democrat whose district encompasses Calloway Cove and other neighborhoods considered to be socio-economically disadvantaged, has recently filed for new state appropriations funding to go toward local organizations fighting against youth involvement in crime.

"They need increased funding to continue to reach out and to reach more students," Nixon said. "It's really important for us to fund programs on the front end so we won't have to worry about funding kids going to jail on the back end." 

If passed, House Bill 3169 would allocate $1 million to the project "Coding in Color," an effort by 100 Black Men of Jacksonville to provide instruction on computer coding to kids with an interest in math and science.

The project is supported by the National Society for Black Engineers.

Another appropriations effort, House Bill 3187, would put $504,300 in state funds toward the group Krumpin' 4 Success, Inc. 

Shanna Carter founded the group in 2010, originally with a focus on creative arts but eventually becoming a not-for-profit venture dedicated to providing youth access to achieve "academic success, entrepreneurship, financial stability and positive mental health." 

"We wanted to make sure that we gave them the opportunities to create those types of positive atmospheres for them to be financially stable, to have economic sufficiency so that they're not reverting to crime," Carter said.

If Nixon's appropriations are approved, Carter's group, which also works with incarcerated and returning youth, would be able to expand its reach to more young people.

"I think we'll see a decrease in crime with our young people, and we'll see a decrease in recidivism with our young people," she said.

Of the $504,300 proposed for Krumpin' 4 Success, $150,000 would go toward a "Youth Business Mall and Incubator," providing teens and other young adults spaces to operate their own business ventures.

"A lot of time in our community, we'll tell [youth], 'Oh you can't do that.' Or, 'Oh that may not be easy to do,'" Carter said. "We're showing them that you can do it, and we're here to support you in every way." 


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