NEW ORLEANS -- An armed robbery on Dreux Avenue and Rhodes Street in Gentilly, an aggravated rape on Arcadia Lane in New Orleans East and a simple robbery on Rousseau Street in the St. Thomas area have one thing in common: the suspects are all juveniles.
"This is a result of kids not being heard, listened to, cared for, having proper mentors and guidance, proper education. It's a cycle," said Sonny Lee, founder of Son of a Saint, a mentor program. “They're also getting pressured by older males. They're getting pressured to be a part of a group that's not necessarily doing the right thing.
Lee said there need to be more mentoring programs for youth.
He said preventative measures are key to keeping teenagers out of trouble. According to New Orleans police, juvenile arrests are up this year about 12 percent from last year. About this time last year, 291 juveniles had been arrested. This year, nearly 330 have been booked.
Most recently, a 14-year-old was arrested Monday in connection with an armed robbery in Treme. Police said the teen took a bike from a woman at gunpoint about 9:20 p.m. July 17 at St. Louis and North Galvez streets.
"You shouldn't be out here committing crimes at 15,” said 17-year-old Errol Robertson. “There's a lot of other things you could be doing, positive things.”
And even though more juveniles are getting arrested for crimes, Errol isn’t one of them.
"My mom don't play that at all. I can't be out here doing crazy stuff,” he said, “and I have too much to live for."
Other local mentor programs are: