Senator Joe Griffo and community leader Courtney Muhammad appeared on WIBX's Keeler Show on Thursday to discuss ways to fix the problem of youth violence in Utica's inner-city. Over the last year, violence and especially gun violence and crime have riddled Utica's inner-city streets, including a shooting that occurred following a football game at Proctor High School in the fall.

"It’s clear that we’re in a different place now not just locally, but across the country, locally we could have done things differently and how did we get here all that we have we could’ve probably avoided a lot of what were seeing today," Muhammad said. "Not at the blame on current local government, but the reality is the focus was not there on the youth. It wasn’t on the inner-city. It wasn’t on those who need attention the most, as far as economics is concerned, but unfortunately the demographic left behind goes back at least 20 years," he said.

Muhammad discussed the fact that many minority children today in inner-city Utica were brought up in families where their parents and grandparents lacked opportunity and lived in poverty with no way out - which has created the current dynamic where a certain portion of the youth population is unsupervised and lacks an emphasis on education and family. These wayward kids often turn to the streets where nefarious influences offer attention, power and money - which while very dangerous, is appealing to kids, especially young males.

Photo Credit: WIBX/TSM
Photo Credit: WIBX/TSM

Senator Griffo referenced new laws which have become problematic across the state such as bail reform, and specifically "raise the age" which places underage kids in a position where they face almost no consequences.

"There are many cases where the older kids get the underage kids to commit the gun crimes because they know the underage kids won't be punished," said Griffo. "In my opinion there's got to be a consequence."

Listen to the complete interview below.


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