Community Leaders In Newark Look To Stem Trend Of Teen Carjackings

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — An NYPD officer was left fighting for his life after being dragged by a stolen car in Brooklyn.

Three teens accused in the crime were preparing to appear in court.

Surveillance video captured the moments after Dalsh Veve was dragged, after responding to a 911 call.

Police said a 15-year-old gang member was behind the wheel, two other teens are also facing charges.

In October, a 15-year-old from Newark carjacked a mother, and then crashed the car in Hillside with two 13-year-old passengers.

So, what drives teens to commit crimes at such a young age — is it to prove themselves, or for other reasons?

“You got guys out here older, want to buy them sneakers, make money, if you do this now they trapped now in a gang,” community leader, Sidney H. Smith said.

Al Tariq Best told CBS2’s Meg Baker he wished there were more hours in the day to reach each child in Newark before it’s too late.

“My philosophy is educate them, entertain them, and empower them. Utilize things they’re already interested in,” Best said.

Community leaders at the HUBB, which stands for Help Us Become Better, said it’s about reaching kids at an early age, and giving them opportunities.

“He gave somewhere for children to come, and I got a bunch of grandchildren,” Catherine Murray said.

The community center on Prince Street is fully equipped with a recording studio, radio station, and video games on what was once one of the worst blocks in Newark.

“It’s some place to go because it’s really bad out here,” volunteer Darrell Edwards said.

Sidney Smith said carjacking and crimes like that are not always gang related, it’s a quality of life issue.

“They were doing that for joy riding, nothing to do, no recreation anywhere else. What are they going to do push them to the street?” Smith said.

Jimmie White has a 10-year-old daughter. He tries to set a positive example with his own behavior.

“Making sure I’m there to check homework, making sure I am a reliable person for her to talk to,” he said.

Jerome Young said many children do not have that kind of support, and that’s were the community needs to come together.

“It’s about hugging the kids, and just letting them know someone is there to support them,” he said.

Another negative outside influence is often social media — these leaders are trying to promote positive productive alternatives to change the mentality in their city.

The HUBB”s outreach program starts at age 8. They are expanding to start at age 6 to establish a strong connection at an even earlier age.

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