Montgomery councilman concerned about youth gang activity
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A Facebook Live video of two young men showing off an assault rifle was so concerning that Montgomery Councilman Oronde Mitchell played it publicly at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“They were throwing up gang signs, and it was brought to my attention, and I want to make the city aware of the problem that we have,” Mitchell said.
Overall, the city official feels the video highlights are larger issue.
“We have a serious gang problem,” he said.
He wants the community to take action to prevent anyone from getting hurt. The councilman mentioned more resources, officers in schools, and programs that target young teens.
“We have to change the mindset of these individuals that we’re starting to see that’s gravitating towards these gangs,” Mitchell said.
The city’s new Office of Violence Prevention has created mentoring programs that work with students on issues of gun violence and mental health.
Law enforcement officials agree gang violence is a communitywide problem.
“We don’t need to start making it into a police issue,” said Tony Garrett with Central Alabama CrimeStoppers. “Police issue comes after the fact. Why aren’t we getting the volunteers for the mentoring programs that we have?”
The Office of Violence Prevention is in need of more volunteers. Law enforcement officials say mentors can change the direction of young people’s lives.
“Sometimes it’s not just having a male figure, but it’s just having someone there to listen to, and to guide them, to give them that advice that they need,” Garrett said.
Adults or organizations interested in mentoring students through the office of violence prevention can contact the group on Facebook or visit the city’s website.
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