SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Over the past few days, young people, in their early to mid-teens have allegedly been involved in some serious crimes in Springfield.
On Tuesday night, 19-year-old Daniel Walker was arrested after he allegedly drove recklessly in a stolen car, injuring three officers, totaling and T-boning a cruiser in the process. Two 14-year-olds were also in the car.
Bryan Booth lives on the corner of Central and Morris where the crash occurred and said he saw the aftermath, “I heard a loud bang and no skid marks, and right here on the corner, right out our window, a car rammed a cruiser.”
On Sunday, a 17-year-old was shot and killed in a housing complex. Three people were arrested, one juvenile and two adults. The adults were arraigned on Tuesday and ordered held without the right to bail.
Springfield Police say the criminal justice system is so weak on juvenile crime, young offenders are not facing any consequences. Walker, for example, had several open cases against him at the time of the crash.
Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood, telling 22News, “It’s like all of a sudden we have no appetite to do anything to these young people because of their age. But I don’t think we’re setting the example for them, I don’t think what we’re doing is in the best interest of the young people.”
Mayoral Candidate Justin Hurst said the city needs a comprehensive plan that includes police, community centers and mental health support and conflict resolution. “I believe the most important that we often times don’t think about, is we need to make sure we are having conversations with the individuals themselves who are actually on the ground committing those crimes.”
Mayor Domenic Sarno said his team is working proactively and preventatively, which includes distributing a universal pass giving free access to community center around the city.
Sarno saying, “We’re doing everything in our power to make sure that our young people have positive paths. It is now up to them and their families to direct those young people to those positive paths.”
Some people think more has to be done at home. Stacey Pete of Springfield telling 22News, “I feel like these kids now-a-days, they don’t have any respect for their elders and their parents, that’s the way they were raised. They don’t get any discipline.”
The Universal pass, which gives free access to community centers, will be handed out by police and are also available at libraries, senior centers and barbershops.