"We will not allow this to adversely affect our community."
That is a statement Mayor John Marks made while addressing the residents who packed the City Commission Chambers, the first of three Town Hall meetings discussing Tallahassee gangs.
"We want to make our community aware that there is this problem and we're concerned about it, but we also want to let those individuals who may want to engage in gang activity know that we are not going to tolerate that kind of activity in our community," added Marks.
Concerned parents sought solutions, or at least methods to combat the rise of gang violence. They also delivered a message to young adults.
"To just say I am responsible for my actions, so we just wanted them to know that they need to be accountable for everything that they do and for every action there's a reaction," said Alfred Colson, Youth Coordinator of Visions of Manhood, Inc.
Teenagers in attendance said the meetings will not only help them avoid gangs but increases parents awareness of signs of gang activity their children may be displaying.
"It really makes people think about it and maybe makes the parents look at their child more closely and see what their doing. Maybe find out if they are in a gang and maybe help if there is in a gang," said Austin Lansperry, an eighth grade Tallahassee student.
The next Town Hall meeting on gangs is 7 p.m. April 19 at Seminole Baptist Church. The third meeting will be 7 p.m. May 10 at Bethel AME Church.