The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office says in 2017 they arrested 266 juveniles for 443 offenses, and those same juveniles accounted for nearly a third of gun related arrests for the year.
Macon's Street to Success is hoping to change those statistics.
“We're helping them with their homework building a little self-esteem,” says Ray Rover from the program.
Rover says their goal is to help kids work towards a brighter future by learning about their past.
“We begin to talk to them about their history. They really become eager to know more, and we’ve seen it happen several times where students get an epiphany because they realize they have that same capability,” says Rover.
Rover says there is a lack of African American history taught to students. A problem he says leaves children without a sense of identity, so he says they bring in people like Thomas Duval.
“They don’t know who they are. That gang sign is who that person is. That’s their total identity,” says Duval.
Duval says he teaches the students about successful people from the Macon area to give them hope that they can be successful.
“If there is no self-motivation than there is no education,” says Duval.
Motivation that District Attorney David Cooke says helps, but he says the county needs a plan.
“This needs to be a part of a larger program to where no child slips through the cracks,” says Cooke.
Cooke says typically they see 700 criminal cases a year involving a juvenile, so he says he is looking to other counties that have plans that are working.
“Sheriff David Davis does a good job of having his deputies and detectives investigate crimes and solve those crimes, and our office does a good job of holding them accountable in court. But the bigger issue is catching this on the front end to where we don’t see them to begin with,” says Cooke.
Rover says it is going to take time, but he says these are all steps towards a safer community.
“If we started today 10 years from now, we could be looking at some great fantastic changes going on,” says Rover.
For more information on Street to Success, click this link.