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DeKalb police discuss crime prevention tactics for county's youth

Detective Ricketts says innovation is the key to preventing young people from getting involved in crime.

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The arrest of a 16-year-old male in connection with the death of Peter McGrath marks another instance where a teenager was either involved in or a victim of a crime in Metro Atlanta. DeKalb County law enforcement leaders said youth being involved in crime is a growing trend and they're working to stop it.

Detective Khary Ricketts with the DeKalb County Police Department says these are the kind of crimes he's trying to prevent. 

Ricketts creates programming for the Police Athletic League. He said that he tries to find innovative ways to engage young people so they won't be tempted to commit crimes. 

"You have to find different ways whether it's mentoring through education, really just taking key to some of the things that are their releases for them," Ricketts said.

Ricketts and two other members of the DeKalb Couty Police Department were recently recognized by United States Attorney General Merrick Garland for creating an online gaming program that helped keep kids engaged during the pandemic. 

Ricketts also started the After Dark Basketball Summer League. He tells 11Alive he immediately noticed a change in the crime statistically. 

"We were able to see that on that particular night, which at that time was those days, it did have an impact on the crime because a lot of that -- some of those individuals that might have been involved in the activity, they were actually in the gym," he said.

The detective said he wants to continue finding ways to engage young people to cut down on violence overall. 

"There's a void that's being missed there that games now feel right. But now we're able to do mentorship."

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