Troubled Teens: Community organizations finding ways to keep teens out of trouble


MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb leaders and members of the community are partnering to help troubled teens. Leaders say teen-related crimes are on the rise.

Out of the 12 murders this year, eight of the victims have been under the age of 25. Community members say it’s getting out of hand, and county leaders say they’re doing all they can to help.

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Macon teenagers were caught on surveillance video breaking into a Family Dollar. The youngest was 12-years-old.

“Kids are arrested for something this serious, there has been warning signs along the way,” Macon District Attorney David Cooke said.

Earlier this year, a shooting at a block party that left two people under the age of 25 dead.

Friday, a teenager was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his sister over WiFi.

Concerned community members say they feel unsafe in their own neighborhoods.

“Parents should step up more and get them into some kind of activity,” resident Callie Hammonds said.

Every city has its issues. Sheriff’s deputies believe the community needs to come together for solutions to keep Macon strong.

“What we need to do is intervene as often and as much as possible in young peoples’ lives so they have a fighting chance,” Cooke said.

Starting in pre-school, the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office offers programs to keep students on the right path. The Sheriff’s Office just wrapped up basketball and driving school programs. Major Tonnie Williams says they also offer CHAMPS – a program students learn to make positive choices.

“It has to start at home. There has to be some interaction with the parent at home. We are just a component to assist them,” Major Williams said.

Macon leaders can’t emphasize enough, that it starts at home and they say parents need to know where your kids are, and who they hang with.

“You’re going to have to consider the consequences for your actions. You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions, but you’ve got to try something different than what you’re doing because this is not working. This is not working for you. You’re better than this,” Major Williams said.

Macon District Attorney’s Office also partners with Bibb County School District to help troubled teens get screened for resources they need to be successful, and stay out of trouble.

Major Williams says more than 2,500 Bibb County 5th graders graduated from the CHAMPS program last year.