- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 26, 2007

Community leaders yesterday asked D.C. youths to reject those who commit drive-by shootings and other acts to resolve their disputes.

“If you do a drive-by, we don’t want you to be accepted by the streets,” said Ronald Moten, co-founder of the nonprofit group Peaceoholics. “We don’t want you to go to jail and be comfortable.”

Mr. Moten spoke at a press conference on Raleigh Place Southeast, near the site of a recent drive-by shooting. He was joined by D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, a Democrat; D.C. Council members Kwame R. Brown, at-large Democrat, and Marion Barry, Ward 8 Democrat; Peaceoholics Chief Executive Officer Jauhar Abraham; and dozens of residents.

Mr. Fenty said he supported the Peaceoholics approach because it reaches communities through their own members.

“If we had our chief of police here, she would say without any reservation that you have to get input from the community if you’re going to solve crimes,” Mr. Fenty said. “I applaud the Peaceoholic for saying in layman’s terms exactly what law-enforcement people have being saying for a long time.”

Mr. Moten asked neighborhood residents to report crimes and the older ones, particularly previous offenders, to “make it uncomfortable” for criminals, including gang members, who retaliate against so-called “snitches.” He said he does not condone violence but wants communities to exclude criminals socially.

Florence Thompson, 44, of Southeast, said she “wholeheartedly” supports Peaceoholics because her son, Joshua Mitchell, was shot a block away from the press conference, one of 11 persons shot in about two hours Thursday night and early Friday. Eight of the shootings were within three miles of Raleigh Place.

Edward Joiner, 63, of the 2900 block of Fifth Street Southeast, said he has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years and has seen all types of crime and has been a victim.

He blames truancy for a lot of the violence.

“What they need to do is get the police wagon and round up the kids,” he said. “The first time is a warning, then after that, they should make the parents pay for keeping them all day.”

Others say youths simply need love and support.

Anwan Glover, aka “Big G,” a member of the Backyard Band and star of the cable TV series “The Wire,” said the Peaceoholics stuck with him and helped change his life.

Mr. Glover, 32, said he is upset about the behavior of young people in the city and plans to reach out to them.

“I’m so disgusted with the things that are going on in the streets right now,” he said. “You’re not going to make a million dollars selling” drugs.

Despite the series of shootings last weekend that police called unusual, the city’s overall crime rate has decreased since Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier began her summer crime initiative June 8.

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