Community continues effort to solve gang and gun problems - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Community continues effort to solve gang and gun problems

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Dozens turn out for the third forum focused on gang and gun violence in Wilmington. Dozens turn out for the third forum focused on gang and gun violence in Wilmington.

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Reports of gang and gun violence in the city of Wilmington have quieted down, but the effort to permanently stop them persists through a community conversation.

The moderator of Monday night's forum called for challenges and solutions from the dozens seated at Cape Fear Community College's Union Station.

Many of the responses centered on the shared need of resources among numerous non-profits, church groups and government organizations.

Funding from federal, state and local grants can be a lengthy process, but Dr. Tim Markley, superintendent of New Hanover County Schools, said a steady stream of committed volunteers is always needed in the classroom, or any agency.

Will Tate is active in community outreach through his church. Though he lives in Hampstead, Tate said it was important that he attend the forum in downtown Wilmington.

"Problems that exist in Wilmington can easily move out to Hampstead," he said. "Some of them might already be there."

Some of them are still in Wilmington, according to Ashley Blake. A product of New Hanover High School, Blake graduated from Livingstone College. He returned to the Port City after working for the Department of Juvenile Justice for four years.

Blake said he doesn't see the same Wilmington that he once knew.

"When I was growing up it wasn't so crazy with gang violence and youth violence," said Blake. "The community would help each other out."

While the community conversations continue with several more planned in the series, Blake said everyone should remember the easiest way to make a difference in someone's life.

"I've learned some good points from just listening to the people – ex-offenders, ex-gang members and what they tell me," he said. "They need jobs. They need help."

Jobs, mental health and non-profits are all topics slated for separate forums in the near future. Dates and locations are still being finalized, so stay with us for more on these events.

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