JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville leaders are hoping to stop crime before it starts by reaching out to young kids in our area.
16,000 kids gathered at the Potter’s House on the Westside Tuesday to take a pledge to stay away from guns and drugs.
The crime-fighting group, MAD DADS, hosts the event every year. Sheriff John Rutherford, Mayor Alvin Brown and State Attorney Angela Corey all say the program is making an impact, but there's more work to be done.
"The importance has been driven home in these last couple weeks with two accidental shootings by children," said Sheriff John Rutherford. "That is just tough to take when it’s too easy to reach these kids."
The event's primary goal is to stop gun violence. MAD DADS leader Donald Foy says kids need to be taught to get help if they come across a gun.
"We’re trying to get the message to them that if they see a gun, stop, don’t touch, go find an adult," he said.
MAD DADS has been hosting the annual event for the past seven years.