NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Juvenile crime has already become a high priority in the new year for community leaders after three teens escaped from a detention center on Stewarts Ferry Saturday night.
It’s a crime trend being seen in teens, and sadly, is nothing new for Bishop Marcus Campbell, at The Church at Mt. Carmel on Monroe street.
So far this year, Metro police have reported 30 juveniles have been arrested. The number already surpasses the number of arrests made during the same time back in 2021.
“We want to see them less on TV, less getting these charges, less being repeat offenders through juvenile court, being charged as an adult going to prison, so it’s very heartbreaking. It’s like we’re losing one of our kids to crime,” said Bishop Campbell.
It’s a battle Bishop Campbell has been fighting for more than 10 years. His church is holding a program called “G.A.N.G.” — standing for Gentleman and not Gangsters. The program works to help young men who are struggling or may be headed down a violent path, to seek the help they need. The program also has a separate group for young girls in need of help.
When asked if Nashville has a juvenile crime problem, Bishop Campbell responded, “I think we do, I think we do, and I think if we don’t get a hold of it, sooner or later, that it’s going to get really out of hand, worse then what it is now.”
This week, police are still searching for three teens who escaped from the Youth Opportunity Juvenile Detention Center. Youth Service detectives are searching for 16-year-old Ervyon Moore, 15-year-old Bruce Johnson and 17-year-old Bryan Reid. Metro police said the teens overpowered a guard and escaped around 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Bishop Campbell said more parents are asking for help at home, but oftentimes they don’t follow through because their teen isn’t willing to participate in getting help. It’s a complicated issue he said will take work to overcome. He explained, not every teen is faced with the same issues, and oftentimes, they need someone to talk to outside of their own family.
“More parents are more concerned now because it’s hitting more homes than usual,” explained Bishop Campbell. “When you see your kids smoking weed, and you see their behavior change, your finding guns in their room, that changes the name of the game.”
The G.A.N.G program kicked off orientation on Jan. 10 but is still taking applications. The group meets every Monday and Wednesday at 6 p.m. at The Church at Mt. Carmel.