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Caught In The Crossfire: Kids Living Near Violence

Young Evansville south siders are all too familiar with the violence in their neighborhood that dominates headlines.
Most American youth aren't strangers to violence. It's in movies, video games and social media. For the hundreds of kids living on Evansville's south side, violence isn't "as seen on TV". It's a reality and the scars run deep. Evansville Police recently stepped up patrols in the area. The move was prompted by more than 100 shots fired investigations in the past four months.

Young south siders are all too familiar with the violence in their neighborhood that dominates headlines. They don't have to watch the news to know shots were fired.

"It's weekly, like usually on Fridays and Saturdays cause there's no school," says Tyger, 11. "There's nothing to worry about unless you get shot or something like that."

Tyger and his brother Tabien, 9, are indirect victims of their environment. They come from a loving home, but even love couldn't shield their young eyes from the violence around them.

"There's kids being shot, teenagers being shot, grown-ups being shot," says Tyger. "One time I even seen like a dead body laying over there [...] I felt sad because somebody had just lost their family member. I went into the house and told my mom about it, we called the cops and they came and covered the body up and everything and put it in the care and drove it to the hospital."

Like many adults, the boys don't understand why crime happens, but they try to explain the unexplainable.

"I actually think it's because more of the hate in the world. People not getting along with each other, bringing up gangs and everything. Pulling out guns and using them and other people who didn't even do anything to them. I just think it's not right," says Tabien.

At just eleven and nine years old , the two boys have wisdom beyond their years. "It's kinda bad to lose a family member because what if somebody took your family member away from you and how would you feel about that," asked Tabien. "It's kinda childish of you [...] while you're doing this, you're knowing the consequences are going to be wrong. But you think you're never gonna get caught. Everybody gets caught once and now and then. But you can't just think you're gonna get away with it. It's not possible."

Despite the increased community and law enforcement efforts, it's unknown when and if the violence will stop. All they can do is hope for a better tomorrow -- a night uninterrupted by gunfire.

"I hope people get along not to walk past and see blood all over the streets and people just get angry because [they're] losing people for just stupid stuff," says Tabien.
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