Meridian's police chief says the murder of 14-year-old Deleon Wilson should be a sign that communities need to be more involved in the lives of young people. The chief says the youth is impacted by crime everyday, whether they're perpetrating these crimes or falling victim.
"Everyone should know that there are consequences for your actions, regardless of if they're good actions or bad actions, and in some cases, they turn out to be fatal," he says.
The latest statistics by the U.S. Dept. of Justice show that in 2011, juveniles were involved in about 1 in 13 arrests for murder and about 1 in 5 arrests for robbery, burglary and larceny-theft. But Chief Dubose says it's also easy for youths to become victims.
"There's a saying that's been around for quite a while that the bullet doesn't have any eyes, nor a name written on it," he says. "If you just happen to be in the wrong place when something happens, you could very well be a victim."
At Tuesday night's vigil for Wilson, Rev. Odell Hopkins explained that family and friends need to work together.
"By faith, I believe that God is able to cure all of the ills of the world. I know that he can. But it takes human touch. It takes human touch. It takes our loving one another, ensuring love for one another and supporting one another."
Chief Dubose agrees that the answer is letting these young people know that they're cared about. He says often the community will group all young people together as one problem, and he says that type of thinking can actually have an adverse effect.
"We have to let them know that somebody cares about them."
Chief Dubose says he hopes Wilson's murder will serve as a wake up call to many that it's time to speak up and step in.