|Published:||Jun 20, 2012 9:55 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jun 20, 2012 11:43 PM EDT|
LEE COUNTY, Fla.- A neighborhood turf war. A result of neglect of children in the African-American community. Two of the reasons that community leaders are giving for the murder spree in the Fort Myers area in recent months.
"I keep hearing that it is a sort of turf war between young people in Harlem Heights, Pine Manor, and Dunbar. One person gets shot or killed, others retaliate out of neighborhood pride and an instinct for revenge," said 29-year-old Charlie Mitchell.
He also says, some of the current cycle of violence stems from the Christmas-time shoot-out at Edison Mall. One of Mitchell's friends died in that shooting.
He grew up in Harlem Heights and is raising his son there now. Mitchell says he believes young fathers like himself, hold a key to reducing the violence.
"I want to sit down with some of these young people who are using violence, and show them the opportunities they have to do things differently in their lives," said Mitchell.
At Quality Life Center in Dunbar, director Abdul'Haq Muhammed believes the violence stems from neglect in the community.
"We have been guilty of looking the other way when we see drugs for sale on the corner. We have neglected our youth. Now we are seeing the fruits of that neglect and negligence," Muhammed told WINK News.
Quality Life Center provides educational and recreational programs for young people year round.
Muhammed believes the solution is for parents to take command of their families and to show young people positive options for their lives.
"We need to show the youth that they have good options outside of the streets. We have to keep them off the streets. That starts with parents but extends to teachers and community leaders and clergy. We all have to be a part of a positive solution, to show something other than the street life," he said.
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