Talk Title: Fixing the Bridge: Treating the Root Causes of Crime

Abstract: The social determinants of health are the same as the root causes of crime. Though crime is at an historic low in the Port City, many are still falling through the cracks–the drug addicted, the mentally ill, and those living in crushing poverty. To build the bridge toward a better tomorrow we must focus on the structure of our community. For me, this structure is shaped like a starfish. The arms of outreach surround a center of health, because a focus on physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as healthy relationships, make a community safer. Spanning the divide between law and medicine has enabled prosecutors to prove cases in the courtroom. Now we are working with scientists to improve the health of the communities we serve to prevent crime from ever reaching our shores.

Bio: Ben David, District Attorney, received his B.A. degree from the University of Florida and his J.D. degree from Wake Forest University School of Law. He was employed for three years in the trademark litigation section of the Intellectual Property group at Petree Stockton, now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton. He became the elected district attorney five years after joining the Fifth District (New Hanover and Pender Counties) and is currently in his fourth term.

Ben was born in New York City but moved to Gainesville, FL at a young age. Following his high school graduation from P.K. Yonge, Ben enrolled at the University of Florida. Ben was an active member of the UF campus and graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Ben’s professional organizations include the National District Attorney’s Association, the NC District Attorneys Association, and the NC State Bar. He is a member of the Wilmington Downtown Rotary and a founding member of the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Prevention of Youth Violence in Wilmington. As District Attorney, he served on the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism, the Governor’s Gang Task Force, and is a founding member of Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration. Ben is a past president of the NC Conference of District Attorneys, and has twice served as a delegate for the American Council of Young Political Leaders. Most recently, he received his certification as a handler for POTTER, a facility dog used in the courthouse to assist victims of crime.

Ben is the author of “Community-Based Prosecution in North Carolina: An Inside-Out Approach to Public Service at the Courthouse, on the Street, and in the Classroom,” which was published in the Spring 2012 Wake Forest Law Review. Ben is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, where he teaches Crime and Community on the Cape Fear, a survey for college students and community member of the law and crime in the region. He serves as an Elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, where he attends with his wife, Stephanie, and their children, Maddie, Sophie, and Fitz.