Teen violence increasing - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Teen violence increasing

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) -- This year the Chattanooga Police Department has dealt with 50 shootings, 23 murders and dozens of arrests.

Many of those arrested are teenagers.

Michael Cranford of the Boys and Girls Club of Chattanooga says it's hard for him to hear about these things.

"I don't know how you solve that problem," he says. "But I know these kids have too much access to guns."

A bloody victim lies on the pavement near 5th Avenue and 31st Street Friday night.

Eight people were arrested and all but one of them were teenagers.

Police say an argument started it all.

Cranford believes gangs offer a sense of comfort to kids except with sometimes gruesome outcomes.

"That negative behavior is only going to lead them into places of trouble," he says.

Police statistics show gang-related shootings are up more than 30 percent since 2008.

Cranford says one problem is the economy. He says adults are now competing for minimum wage jobs teens would otherwise get, leaving them at risk.

"When that happens you have young people who have no ability to get a job and earn any income," Cranford says.

He says his organization knows too many youth who are at risk of grave danger.

"There are opportunities for kids who we know are good kids and they can get caught up," Cranford says. "It would be tragic if one of them lost their life."

The victims of the triple-shooting are still recovering.

Police say three of the teen suspects are facing attempted murder charges.

The youngest suspect, who is facing lesser charges, is only 14 years old.

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