Durham could eliminate all systemic poverty in 20 years, if we were really willing to put the resources down to do it. But what do we do with the poverty we have now, the impoverished culture, and the crime?
We need to rethink the way we’re currently doing criminal bonds (and not, unfortunately, in the unconstitutional way that Commissioner Page and Mayor Bell have been advocating).
But the biggest complete change probably needs to be in our Anti-Gang initiatives. In 2011, I advocated fully-funding a youth-jobs program on behalf of DurhamCAN. A major factor in that advocacy was I did so because it’s actually quite easy to divert low-level gang members into legal enterprises.
Street-corner gang members selling drugs are usually making no more money than they would make working the same hours at McDonalds. The current Anti-Gang program misses this fact, and related ones. Fighting gang participation requires understanding why people end up in gangs, and how they leave.