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Criminologists Discuss Youth Violence

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU.

St. Louis, MO. – Social workers and other youth advocates gathered at the University of Missouri-St. Louis Thursday to share strategies to prevent youth violence.

U.M.-St. Louis criminologist Scott Decker says a CDC study found Missouri and Illinois among the top five states accounting for half of all homicides among juvenile African-Americans.

Despite incidents like the recent school shooting in Minnesota, youth violence has declined overall over the last decade. But Decker says the issue demands constant focus.

"It's almost like we're a one-eyed monster, and when our attention gets distracted to another topic, we look away from youth violence only to turn around and see that it's gotten worse," Decker said.

Decker says one obstacle to reducing youth violence is overcoming entrenched family values that distrust authority.