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Book 'Em Event Links Illiteracy, Crime in Robeson


The Book ‘Em North Carolina conference at Robeson Community College Saturday is bringing readers and writers together to talk about the craft.

WHQR’s Jessica Ferrer reports that the event will also highlight the link between illiteracy and illegal activity in a county that saw more than double the amount of violent crime compared to the state as a whole last year.

The event will include 75 authors discussing writing techniques and how to get published. Mac Legerton is executive director for the county’s Center for Community Action.

“In Robeson county we do have major challenges with our young people in terms of staying in school, reaching higher education, and breaking the cycle of poverty that has been so strong, not only in Robeson county but in other counties in eastern North Carolina.”

The conference includes writing workshops and a book fair. Proceeds from the book fair will go towards the public library and local schools, along with other organizations. Legerton says that improving literacy rates will help reduce crime in the area.

“Education is the greatest opportunity and success for reducing crime, and helping break the cycle of poverty in both our rural and urban communities.“

Robeson County leads the state in violent crime.

In 2010, the North Carolina Department of Justice reported more than 900 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in the county. That’s more than twice the state’s rate of fewer than 400 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Those incidents include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. 

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