Local News

Citizens Gather to Learn About Fighting Gang Growth

Posted April 19, 2007 11:06 p.m. EDT
Updated April 19, 2007 11:09 p.m. EDT

— Gang activity is on the rise, and it's not just a problem in cities. Gangs are becoming a growing problem in Knightdale, Zebulon and Wendell.

Thursday night, hundreds of people gathered to find out what's being done about the issue in eastern Wake County.

On homes, on signs and on businesses, the writing — is on the walls.

"People don't need to run in their house and lock the door, but obviously the issue has grown in the last five years," said Zebulon Police Chief Tim Hayworth.

"Five years ago, the town had three active gangs. Today, there are 14. Graffiti is just one of the signs of gang activity," Hayworth said.

"It affects the economy of this area. It affects the education of our kids, the appearance of our community, so it's important that everyone be involved," said Andrew Meyers, one of the organizers of a community gang-prevention forum.

The county is hosting community forums to discuss gangs and come up with solutions. More than 200 people turned out for the first one at Faith Baptist Church in Knightdale.

"There is so much we see(gang activity), especially in my community," said Mamie Hinton, an East Raleigh resident. She says gang activity is a big problem in her community and she wants it to stop.

Police chiefs from Knightdale , Wendell and Zebulon do as well and were at the forum. They say they can't solve this problem alone, however.

"If we work together we can beat the gang issues," Hayworth said.

The county passed out surveys to people at the meeting to figure out the best way to prevent future gang activity.