Celena Hollis murder: Michael Hancock says gang speculation a distraction
|City Councilman Albus Brooks|
"It's extremely important," Hancock said, noting that those who can't find employment tend to re-offend at a higher rate than those who can support their families. But, he added, the problem has a lot to do with companies' concerns about liability.
He quickly strayed from the topic of employment to talk about what Denver is doing to address youth violence issues.
"The City of Denver is investing a lot of money toward prevention and intervention," he said, adding that he's heard concerns that the city is not focused. "I want to make sure we have our focus and that we do our part."
In describing the city's current actions, the mayor didn't talk directly about gangs. "What we're doing is a full assessment of everything we do with regard to children, everything we do with regard to youth, everything we do with regard to prevention and intervention of youth activity, youth violence."
On a break, Westword asked Councilman Brooks for his assessment of how the mayor's office is responding to the problem of gangs.
"The mayor didn't completely answer the question," he said, but added, "I don't want to say we're not doing enough to respond to it. We're doing good work."
Brooks said that businesses need incentives to hire people with criminal records, since without jobs, it's hard to move away from crime. "That's just the harsh reality.... But we're working hard to make sure people have the opportunities."
Asked for his take on how Hancock has been addressing the gang issue as it relates to the Hollis shooting, Brooks said that it does seem like the mayor is cautious in how he talks about the problem.
"He gets it that there is a gang problem, but I think he's selective in how he's talking about it," he said. "Because it scares people."
More from our Politics archive: "Jacob Ind, 40 others in Colorado could get new sentences due to Supreme Court juvie ruling"
Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.