Detroit activists: To stop youth violence we need a new approach

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Pastor Mo from the Live in Peace Movement is working to come up with proactive ways to curb in crime in Detroit and reach young people before they reach for guns or end up on the wrong side of them.

"I think we have some of the most brilliant people in the city in this room," Hardwick said. "The mentality of our young black people is guess what, don't nobody care. so we don't care. If you don't care about how I live, I don't care if you die. And there as to be a change in that cycle."

Hardwick hosted a community meeting at the Northwest Activities Center on Meyers south of Seven Mile involving concerned citizens, activists and police in attendance.

FOX 2: "What can be done tomorrow, next week, to make this a safer city?"

"You have to influence the influencers who influence the people,” said Dep. Chief Todd Bettison, Detroit police. "We meet with the folks who are leaders that are in violent situations that have influence. Those leaders can let their peers know, and if they say it is okay to put down the guns, guess what? Guns go down."

Bettison says he and Chief James Craig just met with two gang leaders Wednesday - but instead of doing a lot of the talking, they were listening.

"They weren't snitching but they were giving us information as far as youth out there need something to do," Bettison said. "Resources."

Lifelong Detroiters weighed in on a number of issues including the importance of addressing mental health. For many, youth in inner cities rarely come to mind when that topic is broached - and Hardwick says that needs to change.

"When a young man has to put his best friend, several of them, on the front of his T-shirt, and say RIP, that is trauma," Hardwick said.

Hardwick says kids can be lured into the street life at a young age, so he and Live in Peace Movement are looking to get into elementary schools to reach them before that happens.

"Go in there and start getting them to understand who they are," Hardwick said. "Identifying their identity, get rid of the self-hate, learn how to have conflict resolution. We are talking about mentorship on a high level."

A few other big points touched on at the meeting-the importance of family values and the need to promote positive hip hop.

Deputy Chief Bettison says overall crime is down - it's nothing to celebrate when many Detroiters don't feel safe. 

But efforts like this and the follow through, can make a big difference because police cannot do it alone.