Gang Free Initiative lays out city's gang issues - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gang Free Initiative lays out city's gang issues

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YAKIMA, Wash- Thursday the Yakima City Council presented a community profile, a study of the things they feel influence and support youth gangs and related problems.  This Yakima gang free initiative put this together. 

According the study, some factors that lead local youth to gangs are traumatic situations that make them distrust authority, lack of parental involvement, a feeling of connection and companionship, and an idea that the gang lifestyle is fun and glamorous.

Now that they have a more clear picture about what leads to gang involvement, speakers today stressed that the city cannot arrest their way out of the gang problem.  They say people have to be prevented from joining in the first place.

"Stop the flow into the pipeline of gang membership, pitch it off in the middle at intervention, cap it off at the beginning so you don't have any more going on in there that's the point of this plan", says Michael Morales, the assistant city manager.

Their goal is to create a ctiy-wide strategy for reducing youth gang violence and crime in the city.  Yakima County is the seventh largest in the state, how ever it ranks third in gang activity in Washington.