Chandler mayor says city is exploring ways to address issue of youth violence

Apr 30, 2024, 10:15 AM

Split-panel image from a youth violence listening session held April 29, 2024, in Chandler, Arizona...

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke, at right, took part in a listening session on youth violence on April 29, 2024. (KTAR News Photos/Balin Overstolz-McNair)

(KTAR News Photos/Balin Overstolz-McNair)

PHOENIX – A day after participating in a listening session on youth violence, Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke said his East Valley suburb is exploring ways to address the issue.

“On May 9, we will be considering an unruly gathering ordinance that puts responsibility on the backs of parents and guardians who are permissively allowing actions in their house — maybe buying a keg for teenagers, or just not supervising — as well as a brass knuckle ban for minors,” Hartke told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Tuesday.

Why is Chandler considering restrictions on brass knuckles?

Members of a group of violent youths known as the Gilbert Goons have been accused of using brass knuckles in multiple assaults in the East Valley, although Chandler Police Chief Bryan Chapman said during Monday’s listening session that there haven’t been any cases involving the Goons in his city.

A proposed statewide ban on brass knuckles failed to make it through the Legislature this year, but the easily concealed weapons can be regulated at the local level.

“Yuma and Phoenix have similar ordinances in their city, and I believe that other cities will be following this action, as well, soon,” Hartke said.

What happened at Chandler youth violence listening session?

Hartke said he came away from Monday’s listening session at the Chandler Nature Center with an appreciation for the community’s concerns.

In addition to Hartke and Chapman, Dr. Paula McCall was on hand to give a presentation on how parents can safeguard their kids from risk factors that can lead to violent acts.

While multiple arrests have been made in the most high-profile East Valley youth violence case, the October 2023 beating death of Preston Lord in Queen Creek, Hartke said the public remains concerned about the subject.

“The issue is not going away,” he said. “Neighbors and residents are much more in tune to seeing what cities are doing and seeing how cities are responding to similar issues.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Balin Overstolz-McNair contributed to this report.

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Chandler mayor says city is exploring ways to address issue of youth violence