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Aurora Police Chief Calls Youth Violence A Public Health Crisis

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) - Youth mentors in Aurora say they've seen a rise in teen violence during the pandemic. The time between shootings is growing shorter and person on either side of the gun is getting younger.

Counting Monday's victims at Nome Park, 10 teens have been shot in Aurora in just the last 30 days.

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"It's a public health crisis. This is not all on law enforcement. We need to get through to our kids and figure out a way to stop this," said Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson.

The Struggle of Love Foundation is asking for volunteers to help communities in need of guidance. Mentors like Elijah Beauford, also known as Young Activist, strives to help kids in the same community he grew up in.

"You see 14, 15, 16 year olds, who are barely able to get a part-time job, out here murdering each other," said Beauford. "These are babies killing each other. How are they accessing these guns and why do they feel like that's the solution?"

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In a call to action Monday, Struggle of Love Foundation says they need all hands on deck to keep the community safe.

In a Facebook post, the nonprofit wrote:

"With all the violence going on in Montbello, Green Valley Ranch and North Aurora, we are now asking for Boots on the Ground volunteers to help do patrols and pass out resources."

It's another plea for mentors to help keep teens out of morgues.

"We're trying to figure out a way to give them a replacement for the hatred. At the end of the day, when you're able to alternate that feeling with something positive, you can stop yourself from making detrimental decisions where you end up in prison or dead," said Beauford. "We need to be there for our babies. We need to let them know that we understand and we're here for them and we need to be able to work with them."

The Boots on the Ground campaign includes community advocate groups like Gang Rescue and Support Project, GRID and Jonathan McMillan with the Youth Violence Prevention Act Table.

For more information on the Boots on the Ground campaign, you can reach out to the Struggle of Love Foundation.

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