The community joined in attendance of a public forum was created to discuss the gang related violence in Northeast Arkansas area at the Nettleton High School Performing Arts Center.
The forum, created by Mayor Harold Perrin and the Jonesboro Police Department, is a part of a multi-jurisdictional task force working to end gang activity.
The Organized Crime Activity Task Force was established this year to put an end to the gang activity in Jonesboro after a pawnshop was broken into and 64 guns were stolen. The task force consists of 20 law enforcement agencies, around 6 counties in the area.
“Add a component to our efforts to reach out to the public and educate the public on the existence of the problem as we see it of gang activity in Jonesboro and all of Northeast Arkansas. To encourage the community with the things that law enforcement and I think we try to attack that market and bring that problem under control and to encourage the community to assist our efforts,” Grant Deprow, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Craighead County said.
Gangs have been operating in this region for many years, and one of their easiest targets are to involve young people as early as middle school.
From the meeting, they don’t want people to worry now but they do want it to be brought to the attention of Jonesboro residents for the future.
“It takes you as an individual in the community as an individual in the community, if you see something, say something. That’s all you must do. Just get involved. Everybody has a cellular device now a days and if you see something that’s significant then record it. If it something important, it may not be but at least do something about it, Rick Elliott, Chief of Jonesboro Police Department.
From this event, it gave teachers and residents of the Jonesboro community the chance to learn and get involved to try to limit these things from happening.
They had many residents come out to ask all the questions they wanted about the gangs and just different ways they could better their community.
“I know that I have an outlet I can go to the community police department and they can help me get a neighborhood watch established. With a neighborhood watch, statistics have shown, crime in that area have gone down, because they know they are being watched,” Jonesboro resident, David Couch said.
Although the police department is understaffed, they just want to make sure residents are aware of what is going on and know that the department is taking steps towards making Jonesboro safer.