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Youths need alternatives to a life of crime

Erricka Bridgeford talks about the Baltimore Ceasefire Sunday morning at the Living Hope at Kingdom Life Church in Baltimore. (Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun video)

“Charm City” is quickly losing its charm. More than 300 of our children, siblings, cousins and parents have been killed this year in their own communities. Children growing up surrounded by drugs and violence are being taught to hate and to shoot before they are taught to read and write. Teenagers sent to jail for murder are given little or no support when they get out. The streets are filled with violence and crime and we have done little to resolve the issue long term.

I admire the efforts of Erricka Bridgeford and others who urged the city to band together for a murder free weekend and send a message of love and hope throughout the city (“Baltimore ceasefire efforts continue despite fatal shooting Saturday morning,” Nov. 4).

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Although there were two shootings Sunday, the ceasefire was not a total failure. For one weekend, we put aside our differences and came together to show we are stronger than the violence. Although this was little more effective than a Band-Aid on a bullet wound, it brought the community to the streets, bringing awareness and hope to the situation.

Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh’s plan to improve police training and technology is a step in the right direction. Mending the relationship between community and law enforcement will decrease police brutality and send the message that the police are here to protect and serve, not abandon and discourage.

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A program to help teenagers and young adults get back on the right track after serving time could also improve the community. But most importantly, our time and money needs to go toward teaching skills, creating jobs and improving education. We need to give our youth a better alternative than a life in crime.

I hope that the emergency meeting called by City Councilman Brandon Scott last week will eventually produce a plan filled with ideas that really benefit our community. This is not an issue that we ignore, push aside or hide behind. Baltimore can’t wait for all its charm to be lost.

Grace Krach

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