Combating Tulsa's Gang Violence Problems

Thursday, September 21st 2006, 10:09 am
By: News On 6

City leaders wrap up their 2-day gang prevention summit Thursday. The summit drew hundreds of people to the Tulsa Convention Center and generated probably as many different ideas.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg was there when they summed up their results.

A lot of the ideas are stuff that you've probably heard before. They say the difference is we just need to do it.

So who do they want to tackle the gang problem? You, that's right, ‘you.’

Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor: "It's not just the responsibility of the US Attorney's office or the police department or even the mayor's office. It's every single person in this community has to make a commitment."

So what are 'you' supposed to "do"? They say there are many groups already in place, many of whom were at the summit, who are already committed to tackling the gang problem.

One of the things they say they accomplished at the summit that they say had not been accomplished before was having everyone meet one another and see if they were duplicating their efforts.

A lot of these are groups you can join, church groups, school groups, etc. and help mentor youth. Kathy Taylor: "Mentoring can be anything from being involved in big brothers and big sisters, to spending an hour a month going to a school and reading a book, agreeing to go have lunch with a child who needs some adult guidance once a month."

Something else you've probably heard before, but might bear repeating is that the younger the child, the better the odds are of making a difference. And they say there can be a difference. US Attorney Dave O'Melia: "There are ones, as the reformed gang members we heard speak to us, that are salvageable, that can reform, than can break away from this."

So who do ‘you’ call if ‘you’ want to help? They're still working on that, but for starters, call the Mayor's Action Line. That number is 596-2100.