Brawl gives spark to crime prevention partnership

Brawl gives spark to crime prevention partnership

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A crime fighting partnership is getting new attention in the wake of a violent brawl involving high school students on Tuesday.

It's called Crime and Consequences, and it targets teens. The program started only a couple of months ago, but it's the culmination of a long-term effort between JZ94.5 radio owner Rip Daniels, Gulfport Police Chief Leonard Papania, and other law enforcement officials.

The hope is that stark reality will be enough to stop young people before they take the wrong turn.

"It's time to get law enforcement and the people here in the community to work together to fight crime," said Tabari Daniels. "A lot of times, we assume that it's just police responsibility, but the community has a large responsibility to help prevent crime."

Daniels, co-owner of JZ94.5 and an organizer behind the program, said this program provides a different kind of message to youth.

"A lot of kids are not getting that sort of narrative when you come to see in television or hearing music or seeing the movies," Daniels said. "You're just seeing crime and then roll credits."

As the program grows, it will be tailor made according to each audience. In every case, students get a card that has a list of crimes and the consequences of those crimes. It gives them something to take away, and it gives them something to think about.

"It's like let's go ahead and break this all the way down to what they can experience," Daniels said. "There's nothing glamorous about it. Crime is not cool."

This is one of many projects that has earned a name for the station and created a chance for Daniels to change his microphone for another one.

"Once you get off the microphone, it's time to get active," Daniels said. "It's time to promote better behavior. It's time to take a stand against crime."

Daniels said this is a project destined to go beyond city lines.

"In order for us to change the culture, it can't just be Gulfport. It can't just be Biloxi. It can't just be Jackson County. It can't just be Bay St. Louis," Daniels said. "It has to be a concerted effort coastwide, if not statewide, to all move forward and say it's not worth it."

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