A Hamilton city councillor is trying to address what he calls an “overwhelming” concern in the community about youth gun violence.
Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark has authored a motion, approved by the emergency and community services committee on Thursday, designed to deter youth from joining gangs, selling drugs and carrying guns.
It’s a city-wide problem, says Clark. “It’s not just happening downtown, it’s not just happening in certain wards,” he said.
“Gangs and drugs and the proliferation of gun crimes, although targeted, still risks our broader community. Regardless of who is killed in these shootings, they have families, they have lives.”
His motion calls for creation of a made-in-Hamilton program, through consultation with experts ranging from police to youth workers and members of the clergy.
“We have to reach out to the youth,” adds Clark, “to ensure that they understand that there are wiser, better ways to make a living in the community.”
Grace Mater, Hamilton’s acting general manager of healthy and safe communities, says the motion aligns with the city’s planned creation of a youth strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We really think it’s a great opportunity to go back out and engage our community partners in this conversation,” says Mater, “and then we’ll bring that back.”