An uptick in teen violence in the City of Erie is becoming a growing concern.
The bigguest concern about the recent crime surge is that the violence is not random. According to police, most of the incidents are believed to be targeted.
There has been a spike in gun violence in the City of Erie. It’s feared that some of those pulling the trigger are teenagers.
“They don’t appear to be random acts of violence at this time. They appear to know each other. They’re over street level disputes, drug dealing, relationships, it seems to be targeted at this time.” said Deputy Chief Rick Lorah.
This comes as middle and high school students in the Erie School District are still learning outside of the classroom and online.
Here are some of the red flags those at home can look for.
“The truancy and lack of attendance is definitely an issue as well as poor performance at school. We are seeing a lot of kids that previously were really good students and then their grades have dropped drastically.” said Patti Palotas, Mental Health Services at the Erie School District.
Palotas explaining the district is still offering mental health services for anyone in need who are struggling for whatever reason.
“We are getting creative with doing tele-house services. We do video session or Zoom, whatever that student feels most comfortable with because we want to make sure they feel supported, even if its just a check in and check out with guidance counselors.” Palotas said.
There are community groups such as the Blue Coats and the Boys and Girls Club, any concerned adult can reach out to if they believe a child is in trouble.
“It’s troubling that this is happening, but I think we have the foundation in place to stop this at an earlier age. We just need to continue to do that.” Lorah said.
One way the Erie Police Department is working to help combat the crime is by reaching out to younger children through the Police Athletic League