Leon County Sheriff Walt McNeil has rolled out the latest effort at reducing crime. McNeil says law enforcement isn’t the only way to keep communities safe and is partnering with other city and county departments and local organizations.
One process the Sheriff’s Office is using is the “back on track program.” It works with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice, which McNeil used to lead.
“We identify through their process kids who are at risk and have been through the criminal justice system, we put them in our back on track program. And the back on track initiative sits down with our troubled youth and it tries to build a relationship,” he said.
This form of prevention also asks kids if they would like to attend religious institutions weekly. McNeil says if children are involved in organized activities like religion, then there is an increase in positive communication.
“If you can give structure to children and families then you’re going to have better outcomes.”
Research on the topic has found mixed results.
Since the beginning of 2019, there has been a significant increase in the number of shootings.