Twelve youth arrested Saturday night, group wants to curb violence

MILWAUKEE -- Police squad cars swarmed the area near 76th and Good Hope Saturday night, and a group of teenagers leaving a dance ended up on the wrong side of the law, as police made twelve arrests. Now, community members are trying to come up with ways to fight youth violence.

We're told teenagers leaving a dance held at Destiny Youth Plaza Saturday night began acting in a disorderly manner. Destiny High School officials say this was not a Destiny High School event, and the event was run by a group who rented the facility. The high school does not own the Destiny Youth Plaza, and has nothing to do with who rents the facility.

Witnesses say a large crowd of juveniles gathered outside Good Hope Mart. An employee says it's alarming. "They are violent, so I have to lock the door," the employee said.

Police say it's not the first time a group of teenagers has had a run-in with the law. Over the summer, police say a looting incident involving teens occurred at a gas station in Milwaukee's Riverwest community. Surveillance video was later released of that incident.

Community Activist Michael Hagler organized a peace rally after the gas station incident. His group hasn't organized a peace rally in response to Saturday's incident, but Hagler says he'll keep working to promote peace. "I feel like if people let their voice be heard, then people will start to understand what's going on, and wake up the city," Hagler said.

Hagler has created an organization called "Team Stop the Violence." The group has a <runtime:topic id="ORCRP006023">Facebook</runtime:topic> page, where community members can come together to talk about solutions to curbing crime. Organizers say getting young people involved in mentor-ship programs, as well as providing more recreational activities and jobs for young people will be beneficial.

They say they realize combating violence will not happen overnight, but with all hands on deck, they hope positive results can be achieved. "Getting the community more involved, parents especially. Knowing where your children are, who they are hanging out with. I think that's a start," Tina Perry said.