Pine Bluff growing concerned about violent crime among kids

Local News

PINE BLUFF, Ark. – There are new details in the Tuesday night Pine Bluff shooting that left a 13-year-old boy dead.

The boy’s 17-year-old brother is charged with the crime. Pine Bluff Police say he was charged as an adult with second degree murder and aggravated assault. He’s being held on a $200,000 bond.

Pine Bluff City Councilwoman Joni Alexander shared her thoughts about violent crime in the city.

Alexander is outspoken about violent crime, especially among youth.

“I grew up here in Pine Bluff,” Alexander said. “I didn’t know it wasn’t normal that I attended four funerals for my peers in junior high and high school that had been murdered. That’s not normal.”

Alexander said she thinks part of the issue is that some Pine Bluff youth can’t escape from their reality, and they don’t have a positive outlet.

“If everything is negative, then kinda like, what do you expect?” Alexander said.

Alexander said there are different degrees of homicides in Pine Bluff.

“They vary, but there is one thing that all of our homicides have in common and there is always an adult enabler involved,” Alexander said. “There’s always an adult supplying these guns to our young people. There’s always an adult supplying the drugs to our young people. And until we start addressing that bigger picture that connects all of them, we’re going to continue to have this culture of crime.”

Alexander added she believes the environment of Pine Bluff cultivates crime, like dilapidated structures and overgrown lots.

She also said 48 percent of Pine Bluff youth live below the poverty line.

“And so, all of those characteristics, culturally, can help with the numbers when it comes to violent crime,” Alexander said.

Alexander said she thinks fixing the problem takes a strategic approach.

“Maybe if we really started investigating the perpetrators who are enabling our young people to be in these streets and giving them the resources to be violent, maybe if we focus on that, and get rid of some of them, then we’ll be able to get a better hamper on what’s going on in our city,” Alexander said.

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