Helena-West Helena, Arkansas is a city located in the Delta with a population of 11,000 people. In 2017, Helena was reported to have 5,643 total crimes for every 100,000 people living in the city. A large majority of these cases have been gang related.
Gangs have contributed to many prevalent issues in Helena in the past decade. One alarming issue is the extremely high numbers of deaths in the community. On April 16, 2017, 15-year-old Quantavious Stringer was murdered due to a feud between gangs. Supposedly, an SUV drove up to the house where Stringer was sitting and began to fire gunshots. The Helena-West Helena Police department stated that this incident was an “ongoing feud between several gangs.” A similar event occurred in 2014 when 17-year-old Austin Ingram was shot multiple times and left in the middle of a street.
People must bring awareness to the issue of gang violence in Helena. Providing parents with this information could be effective because they know their children’s habits, schedules, and are around them most of the day. To decrease the number of kids joining gangs, the people of the community should come together with their local police force and create a community gang prevention group. Starting youth programs can encourage students to put their time and energy into something positive such as school, sports, or their families.
Helena-West Helena is a city full of gang violence that is only corrupting its citizens and youth. If the community does not work together to implement solutions such as starting youth programs to steer the youth in the right direction, the community’s death rate will go up, graduations will go down, and the community will be overrun by gang members.