Pinellas County works to cut back on youth crime

Posted at 5:40 AM, Aug 11, 2017

Community leaders in Pinellas County are stepping forward to help fight a growing rash of youth crime.

They are going right down to the street level. Meeting a lot of kids, developing relationships and trying to show them what their lives could be if they make the right decisions.

Part of the job Ken Irby is not fond of? Speaking with heartbroken parents who lost a child.

"I've met mothers on the street after their sons were killed. So know how real this is, this is not make believe," Irby told ABC Action News.

Unfortunately, it's something he's seen far too often in Pinellas county.

"Any death, one death is far too many," said Irby.

The most recent incident involved three teens killed in a fiery crash near U-S 19 and Tampa road. Deputies say the kids crashed a stolen SUV.

RELATED | Three teens in stolen car die in fiery crash

Irby, the community intervention director for St. Pete is leading the charge to reduce youth violence. Especially among the city's young men.

Programs include the "Not My Sons Campaign" where kids are taught the importance of their life choices.

Also, a newly developed funding grant for non-profits serving at-risk youth.

Irby says education, job training and positive mentoring are all key to making changes.

The idea behind it all is to save lives.

"We're saying to young people... you have to think about your choices and the consequences that your decisions have," said Irby.

To find out more about St. Pete's grant program for non-profits and other initiatives to ease youth crime and violence head to this website.