After a spike in recent teen-on-teen crime, such as a 15-year-old arrested for the shooting death of an 18-year-old, and another 16-year-old shot and injured…Jasper County Sheriff Greg Jenkins spoke to parents on Wednesday night on preventing the violence. One idea Jenkins says his office is crafting with the county attorney is a county-wide curfew for teens.
The stage of the Ridgeland High School auditorium was filled with officers, but the audience was slim. Barely 30 people attended the community meeting.
“I’m extremely disappointed in the turnout of the county,” Jasper County resident and parent Allison Pace said.
Pace had hoped citizens would care more about teen crime like gang activity and drug use. However, Jenkins was optimistic the few who attended is a starting point.
“If we would just stick to the getting the community involved and doing the outreach program and not just through law enforcement but i think it’s really going to make a difference and all it takes is just a few to get it started,” he said.
Jenkins says there are gangs in areas like the Fordville community; there have even been shootings in the area recently. Then on Monday, the Sheriff’s office got word there would be retribution on one teen for a previous shooting incident.
“We started knocking on doors and asking parents to please come get your child that was 16 or younger. We had a couple of parents that responded, and it subsided,” Jenkins says.
This brings-up his idea of a county-wide curfew. Several parents voiced their support.
“The curfew needs to happen, yesterday, because nothing good goes on after 10 o’clock at night,” Pace says.
The idea isn’t set yet as far as the time and consequence for violating it, “but that curfew may end up saving a life, and that’s what we’re after,” Jenkins says.
He would have to present the idea to county council. He will hold another community meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m., at Hardeeville Middle School.