The City of Tallahassee is teaming up with local law enforcement and community leaders to develop a plan of action to put an end to youth gang activity. Leon County gang investigators say the number of documented gang members is growing, now at 150. Detective Grady Jordan, the Northwest Florida Regional Director of the Florida Gang Investigators Association says, "You can tell it's going in a direction you don't want it to go."
Anita Davis, with the NAACP and a Tallahassee community activist says the kids need an alternative, "The answer is why are you doing it, what can we do to stop it and what are the alternatives and I know we can do it." Davis says there's a need for education and diversion. Tallahassee leaders have been collaborating for months and say a plan of action to address gang activity is nearly ready. Detective Jordan says, "All the agencies are working together which is great, because it's a community wide effort that we have to derail and help intervene in some of these kids so they don't go down the wrong path."
The goals in the preliminary plan include:
1) Soliciting input regarding influences and community needs from youth vulnerable to gang activity.
2) To reach at least 500 people and alert them about local gang activity, growth, and risk factors for youth.
3) Determine feasibility of converting a City recreational facility into a youth focused activity center.
4) Develop communication between local law enforcement, judicial, non-profit and local youth groups to share tips about potential problems and plan activities for kids.
5) Explore funding options for existing programs.
6) Ensure maximum punishment of those involved in illegal gang-related activities.
The plan has been turned over to the Youth Development Council to hammer out the details. YDC members will meet in a few weeks to put the gang prevention plan into action.