Texarkana police to hold community forum following spike in violent crime involving juveniles, young adults

Officials in Texarkana, Ark. say they're seeing a spike in violent crime involving juveniles...
Officials in Texarkana, Ark. say they're seeing a spike in violent crime involving juveniles and young adults.(Matt Rourke | AP)
Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 3:43 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2021 at 3:23 PM CST
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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KSLA) - Over the last several months, there has been a spike in violent crime involving juveniles and young adults in Texarkana, Ark. Police say these crimes include vehicle burglaries, theft of firearms, robberies, assaults, battery, and even murder.

Back on Oct. 14, the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department (TAPD) launched the Juvenile Crimes Task Force to combat the issue. The task force is responsible for identifying and arresting any juvenile or young person involved in a violent crime.

“Since that time we have made a significant amount of arrest citations and we have removed nine guns of the street. We know law enforcement can’t combat this problem alone,” said TAPD Chief Kristie Bennett.

Officials with the department say as of Tuesday, Nov. 16, the task force has made 49 apprehensions, issued 21 citations, and removed nine firearms off the streets. According to a new release from TAPD, Miller County Prosecutor Connie Mitchell has vowed to prosecute all these individuals to the fullest extent of the law.

Officials with the department say the issue of violent crime among young people cannot be solved solely with law enforcement. They’re calling on schools, churches, non-profits, and parents to work together.

“We want to stop the violence in our community. Our kids are crying out for help,” said Bishop Terry Taylor with the Texarkana Ministerial Alliance.

As such, TAPD is holding a community forum to discuss recent crime and possible solutions. It will be hosted by the Texarkana Ministerial Alliance on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. at the Church of the Living God Temple #4 (928 Laurel St., Texarkana, Ark.).

“We need all to come out and help support this effort so we can be on the same page and do things together. There is unity in the community when all of us get together and that’s what we are looking for,” said Taylor.

TAPD officials will be in attendance, as well as City Manager Jay Ellington, Mayor Allan Brown, Prosecutor Connie Mitchell, and administrators with the Texarkana Arkansas School District.

The forum is open to the public.

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