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Muncie community leaders blame lack of parental involvement for spike in teen gun violence

MUNCIE, Ind. – It is all hands on deck to cut down on the number of young people that are getting involved in violent crime.

Delaware County community leaders are coming together to make a plan. They hope the addition of father figures can help decrease teen violence in the Muncie area.

“A lot of it has to do with individuals robbing each other. There is no set formula for what they are robbing for, it can be something as little as an iPad, cellphone, or $40.00,” said Carl Malone of the Muncie Unity Center.

Leaders say kids carrying handguns before junior high is just the norm for some.

“They all say that the guns are pretty common. They can get a gun as easy as they can get a soda,” said Malone.

In the City of Muncie, the Unity Center says more than 80% of households are run by a single mom. So, when there is no adult around, some kids may bring weapons into the house or carry them to school.

“If there is no supervision…how long will one go without knowing a gun is coming in and out of their backdoor while they work the second shift,” said Malone.

Delaware County Sheriff Ray Dudley says he works with community groups and clergy to help develop relationships with the community. Recently, those relationships helped stop violence between two groups of teens.

“One of the teens got on Snapchat and had an AK-47 and was threatening the other group of teens. I reached out to the enough is enough group and they talked to the families and solved the problems before it came to police,” said Sheriff Dudley.

Along with building relationships, the concerned community members believe that adding a father figure could help cut teen crime. The group suggests the teens keep in contact with a male family member, clergy or a Unity Center volunteer that can help the young men understand the consequences of picking up a weapon.

If you would like to find out more information on some of the resources and activities available to keep your teen out of trouble or get assistance doing so, contact the Unity Center at (765) 213-2571.