Activist Says Attitudes, Not Guns, At Root Of Crime Problem
Police Recover Six Illegally Purchased Guns Each Day
POSTED: 5:07 pm EST January 30, 2006
UPDATED: 6:44 pm EST January 30, 2006
CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati police removed more than 1,500 guns from area streets over the past year, but some activists warn the trend of violent gun crimes will continue unless the attitudes of inner-city youth change.
Michael, a convicted felon who spent 11 years in prison for aggravated robbery, said a major reason he got involved in violent crime was because his friends did.
"Mainly peer pressure…a lot of peer pressure because of the group of people I hung around. This is what they did, and, you know, I was looking at the fast money they was making, so I just tried it," he said. "The type of environment that's out there revolves around carrying a gun."
It's easy for people such as Michael to illegally purchase handguns on the streets, too. Firearms that have been used in a crime go for dirt-cheap.
"(They sell for) $25 or nothing -- sometimes it's nothing," community activist Candace Tubbs said. "One gun may have been used in five different crimes or more."
Another activist said the guns aren't the primary problem, just a symptom of it.
"It's how I see myself in the context of this environment -- that's the problem," Anees Fardan said.
'They Think It Makes Them A Man'
Logan Mathews, 13, is one of the youngest victims of gun violence on Cincinnati's streets. He was found shot to death Saturday and had two guns with him.
"For whatever reason they believe having a gun is a badge of honor," Roberto Allen said. "They romanticize it. They think it makes them a man."
Allen said he could relate to Michael and other young men looking for acceptance and role models in the inner city -- young men, he said, who often lack a responsible parent at home.
"You see somebody on the corner with a nice car and nice clothes and nice jewelry, and they do not have to go to school, and that is easy for them," Allen said. "I am going to do what they do."
He was able to get out of the street life and into the Boys and Girls Club, and now Allen works to be a positive role model to teens who need one -- to show them that there's a legal way out of their crime-ridden neighborhoods.