CINCINNATI - Cincinnati District 3 police are taking unusual steps to try to stop the 200 percent increase in juvenile shooting victims over the last five years.
They're hoping pictures of gunshot survivors who are paralyzed or require a colostomy bag will make some at-risk teens think about their lifestyle.
With the help of probation officers, juveniles involved in drugs and gangs will be invited - or forced by court order - to attend a large meeting at Oyler School in Lower Price Hill.
The first of its kind Youth Initiative in District 3 will appeal to the vanity of teenage boys living a life of drugs and crime.
Lt. Joe Richardson said the teens will see gruesome photos of gunshot survivors from the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
"You're not killed, but you're walking around with a colostomy bag and that's just not the way to get a girl's attention by limping down Warsaw Avenue with a colostomy bag," said Richardson.
A colostomy bag is needed to manage bowel functions when a person has intestines, kidney or pancreas removed.
"We're going to deliver a message that's very strong in law enforcement content and juvenile court content but also hopefully we can get some with the medical perspective - to say we know you think you are bulletproof and we might not get that message through to you, but think about what happens when you get shot and you live," Richardson said.
In 2008, juveniles accounted for 11 percent of gun violence victims in District 3.
In 2012, that figure rose to 34 percent.
"When you're talking about teenagers being over a third of your victim, this is a problem we need to deal with," said Richardson.
Aaron Pullins, a street advocate with the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, hope young people get the message before it happens to them.
"Youth are easily impressionable and sometimes it doesn't have to take tragedy to change a person's life, so if we can show them the right way before tragedy shows them the right way, I think we reach them in a more effective way," Pullins said.
Read how colostomy bags cause shame and discomfort for shooting victims at http://www.rwjf.org/en/about-rwjf/newsroom/newsroom-content/2012/07/for-gunshot-survivors--wounds-that-don-t-heal.html
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