Charlotte nonprofit hoping to keep kids away from crime after alleged armed robbery

A 6-year-old and 12-year-old were allegedly involved in an armed robbery this past weekend.
HEAL Charlotte is a group that works with kids to keep them off the streets and away from crime.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 11:53 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - After hearing Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police (CMPD) announce on Monday that a 6-year-old and 12-year-old were involved in an armed robbery with a BB gun, it brought up emotions for HEAL Charlotte founder Greg Jackson.

”[I’m] heartbroken you know? My prayers goes out the family,” Jackson said. “You know that has to be hard to hear.”

During that same media conference held by CMPD on Monday, Capt. Jason Helton shared there are programs within CMPD that are dedicated to helping at-risk youth.

Jackson runs HEAL Charlotte, a group that works with kids to keep them off the streets and away from crime.

“It’s not just cause of their decision making,” Jackson said. “It is because of the environment that they are living in right now that is keeping them in this survival mentality that is allowing them to have opportunities to operate in negative activity.”

Police said the 12-year-old involved in the armed robbery is currently facing charges, but his 6-year-old brother is too young to be charged in the state of North Carolina.

When it comes to how the state punishes kids charged with crimes, the Department of Juvenile Justice has a point system. The number of points dictates whether a juvenile will be in custody, or can return home.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety shared this information with WBTV:

“In determining whether secure custody is appropriate for a juvenile, juvenile court counselors utilize the Detention Assessment Tool (DAT). This tool weighs a variety of factors, including the most serious offense, a juvenile’s supervision history, prior adjudications, aggravating factors and mitigating factors, each of which is assigned a numerical point value. The juvenile court counselor totals the points assigned to these categories, with points subtracted for mitigating factors. The resulting total constitutes the juvenile’s DAT score. Secure custody is considered for scores of 8 and above.

It is important to note that the DAT is not the only factor in determining whether a juvenile is recommended for secure custody. Court counselors ultimately weigh public safety, the individualized needs of the juvenile, their risk of reoffending and the presence of community resources and services that may provide appropriate treatment and rehabilitation to help prevent the juvenile from reoffending.

In some cases where secure custody in a juvenile detention center is not recommended, alternative placements may also be available via resources such as residential juvenile crisis and assessment centers or other emergency referral options. If placement in such a program is not immediately available, a juvenile may be placed under intensive supervision until placement becomes available.”

Jackson said he would like to work with the brothers who were involved in the robbery and have them be part of HEAL Charlotte. He also added that it takes a village to help shape the youth, and he would like to see more funding for more organizations in a variety of areas with the mission of helping at-risk youth.

“Collectively we all come together to do positive things, and when we fail someone like a 6-year-old, we all have to collectively say we missed the boat somewhere we need to go and make sure we fix it,” Jackson said.

For more information about Juvenile Delinquency in North Carolina, click here.

Related: Charlotte police investigating armed robbery involving 6 and 12-year-old