Bridgeport police launch program to help at-risk youth

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BRIDGEPORT -

Police in Bridgeport have launched a new program aimed at helping at-risk kids stay out of trouble. 

Project Longevity Youth Initiative is a program designed for police to assist young people by helping them steer clear of prison. Police say residents who have kids at risk of getting into trouble will receive a letter about the program.

Police Chief AJ Perez says police are meeting with kids who have been flagged as high risk, as well as their parents. Police are helping them get back in school, find a part-time job or get counseling.

"It's a deterrent," says Perez. "We're trying to change their behavior. We have kids that don't see a future, or they're so into these videos that they think that it's a game. And it's not a game. It's life and death and they end up killing each other or becoming the victim of a homicide."

Program supporters like Darrell Baskin, who spent 18 years in prison, say he wishes there had been an initiative to help him when he was a kid.

"I think it's a good idea to do it, you know," says Baskin. "It should have been done a long time ago."

Police are hoping the program will help break the cycle of crime for many high-risk kids.

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