WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Gang violence is a growing problem in Wilmington, so local police and sheriff's deputies are working together to end that violence.
A man WECT spoke to asked to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation for speaking out, because he knows that gangs are growing in the area.
"Out here and seeing things I've been seeing - it's a lot of young kids down out here," said John Doe.
Gang members begin recruiting adolescents as young as 12 years old.
Now, officers are taking steps to curb gang violence, which has already claimed one life in Wilmington this year and affected many others.
"I lost my little brother in the streets, and that's not the first one," said Doe. "I have lost a lot of little brothers out here."
Detective John Paul Guiano said teens are the main targets of gangs, because young kids and juveniles can do hard crimes and not have significant punishments.
According to officers there are nearly 500 gang members in Wilmington. And where there are gangs, violence usually follows.
In an effort to help break the cycle, the Sheriff's Office and the WPD are instituting the high point model, which has been successful in reducing gang activity in some cities. They are also working with area schools to help curb youth violence.
Officers hope that by brining the problem to light it will mean fewer teens will have to live in the shadows.