WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Community leaders from Riviera Beach and West Palm Beach joined forces Saturday at Gaines Park to announce new approaches to fighting crime in their neighborhoods.
“From a young age we learn not to say what we see,” said Riviera Beach Mayor Ronnie Felder.
Felder says from a very young age kids are taught the phrase “snitches get stitches” and learn to not speak up when witnessing something illegal happening.
“We’ve talked about today being a call to action and really a thousand-mile journey. We know that the first step is very important,” said West Palm Beach City Commissioner Corey Neering.
The first step is to teach kids to address issues and not view it as snitching but rather doing what’s right in a situation.
“I really want to advocate going to churches and saying, 'listen, how do we start after school programs in our churches and we can offer for free?’ When we become part of the solution not just on a Sunday or Wednesday, but making sure that we have our churches open daily,” said Felder.
Bishop Ronnie Green also addressed the group about his church that’s already working in nearby neighborhoods by door knocking and forming lasting relationships with people as a way to reduce crime. He strongly believes adults in the area need to make more of an effort to mentor the youth.
“What you will hear is kids having morals we won’t be killing each other about tennis shoes. We will have morals and standards again that’s being lost in our community,” said Green.
The goal is to host events similar to the one held Saturday in the near future.
Click here for more information about Green’s church The Gate International Church.