JACKSON, S.C. (WJBF)– A group is working to end crime in Aiken County by targeting the younger generation. A Stop the Violence event is taking place in Jackson Saturday.
Crime can happen anywhere and at any time, but the Down South Dirty Riders said violence has been hitting a little too close to home lately.
“There’s a few killings that’s been going on in Aiken. One in particular at Aiken High School,” Patrick John, event organizer, said.
He said he wants to see change this upcoming school year. The Down South Dirty Riders are teaming with Aiken County law enforcement and churches to help end violence among youth. Johnson said it’s no coincidence the event is this Saturday: Aiken County schools start back in less than two weeks.
“Anything to keep them occupied and away from trouble. Trouble is easy to get into, and it’s hard to get out of,” Johnson said.
“We’re going to have water slides out here for the kids. We’re going to have a dunking booth, snow cone machines, ATV stunts. Anything to keep occupied and show them it’s better than violence,” Johnson explained.
Captain Eric Abdullah with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said it’s crucial kids are involved in some kind of constructive activity.
“Our goal and responsibility is to enforce the law. Anybody that violates the law has to understand that they will be held accountable, to include inflicting some kind of violence on a person,” Captain Abdullah said.
He also said he would like to see more people turn away from disputes, call law enforcement and let them handle it.
“As black men, a lot of our homes are broken, but we’re just trying to say, ‘We’re here, and we’re here for you.,'” Johnson explained.
“If we all engage with one another, give positive information, get positive feedback, regardless if there’s some negative feedback. We learn from that, and I think we can grow as a community,” Captain Abdullah said.
Aiken County kids of all ages are invited to the Stop the Violence event. School supplies will be handed out-and it kicks off at 1 tomorrow and lasts until 6 pm. The event is at 74 Houston Loop in Jackson, South Carolina.