Go-kart races and rounds of miniature golf.
This is how one Mountain View nonprofit is working to address neighborhood crime, while they say they can still make a real difference.
“We get our kids involved more in these field trips, like the one you see now,” said Boys and Girls Club assistant manager Carnard Davis, motioning to the go-kart course. “To get them away from the environment and let them know there’s more things to do in Alaska.”
It’s a preemptive approach that Davis believes will keep the next generation on the right track, even in the midst of what appears to be a rash of violent crime.
In a little over a week, police say there have been at least two shootings and a fight involving a machete — which left a police dog wounded — all within a mile of the Boys and Girls Club in Mountain View. One of those shootings, which happened in broad daylight, forced the Boys and Girls Club into lockdown.
“We put all of our kids in the gym and they were unable to come out until their parents got them,” Davis says.
Eleven- year-old Bernard Jordan frequents the Boys and Girls Club in Mountain View and says he looks forward to the field trips. He lives near the club and says he awoke in fear to the gunshots that rang out around 1 a.m. on July 4.
It’s that fear that Bernard felt during the shooting that could also be an effective teaching lesson, says Jewel Jones with Anchorage Community Land Trust.
“When they see the fear that they have, that’s something they can talk about at home, talk about with their family and friends,” Jones said.
What organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and area churches do to teach and engage youth is beneficial, Jones says. But until the adults perpetuating acts of violent crime choose another way, not enough will change, Jones says she fears.
The Anchorage Police Department says it’s important to remember that crime happens everywhere, not just in Mountain View. In fact, APD says there have also been shootings in Hillside, Spenard, Midtown and on Boniface Parkway within the past few weeks.