Business leaders to host session on reducing crime

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The impacts of criminal activity on economic development–and the development of local youth–are the focus of an upcoming information session co-hosted by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and Wilmington Chamber Foundation.

“Crime Hurts Kids…and Business” is set for 7:30 to 9 a.m. Jan. 22 in Cape Fear Community College’s Union Station building.

Speakers include 2014 chamber chairman Rickey Godwin, John Monteith of Monteith Construction Corporation, District Attorney Ben David, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and Jana Jones Halls, executive director of the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence.

“There are many ways that crime negatively impacts our community, but one that isn’t often noted is economic development,” Godwin said. “When business site selector Jay Garner spoke at the chamber’s annual meeting this year, he stated that an area’s crime rate is a prime consideration for relocating businesses and start-ups. We want the business community to take a more active role in helping us attract and retain businesses by reducing the chances our young people will become involved in gangs and other illegal activities.”

In finding a solution, the issue of “summer slippage” needs to be addressed, chamber president and CEO Connie Majure-Rhett added.

“In the summer months children from low income households fall behind in their education while others progress, creating a gap that the low income students can’t bridge. Every year of elementary school it gets worse, setting a path of underachievement academically and the potential to be lured by criminal activity instead of staying in school and seeking a stable profession,” she noted.

David will share his courtroom observations, as well as initiatives his office and other stakeholders have undertaken to positively influence children and their behavior.

Attendance is open to Wilmington chamber members and non-members. More information is available here.