Battling for Chicago's youth
Probation Officer Jason Smith keeps track of youth offenders on the streets of Chicago’s notorious West side.
December 6th, 2012
07:30 AM ET

Battling for Chicago's youth

By Nova Safo, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

Chicago, Illinois (CNN) - Jason Smith is a juvenile probation officer in Chicago. His territory includes some of the most violent neighborhoods in the city.

But Smith doesn’t just work in the West side neighborhoods he patrols. He also lives there, and grew up there as well. Sixteen years ago, he was also a young offender on probation. Now, he hopes his experience and success out of the gang life can help inspire young people caught in the city’s escalating violence

Unlike Los Angeles and New York, Chicago has seen an increase in homicides recently. There have been 470 homicides and more than 2,200 shootings this year. Much of the violence is fueled by gangs and fights over drug turf, according to Chicago police.

[2:49] “Some kids who participate in the drug market, they’re not doing it for themselves, they’re doing it to provide for their family, to provide clothing that they need. It’s just a survival instinct,” Smith said.

Listen to the story above to hear our ride-along with Officer Smith, as he visits Chicago neighborhoods and the young offenders he is working to help.

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Filed under: Behavior • Stories
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. daniel

    hope there will be no more violence

    December 6, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Debbie

    I did not read the story....I already have the solution to these problems....Start reprimanding the parents for their childrens actions!!!! I bet the s**t will stop....

    December 6, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vl

      The problem is, a lot of the parents don't care. So it would change nothing.

      December 6, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nick

    That was an excellent story!

    December 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |