SUNNYSIDE, Wash. - Sunnyside has passed an ordinance that makes it a crime to be a part of a street gang. In the city council meeting Monday night, statistics like 15% of eighth graders being a part of a gang were being discussed.
"I don't walk home three blocks by myself at night," said Pat Dopps who stays in Sunnyside for the summer.
Residents who feel the same way about their safety and those who think the ordinance singles people out attended the meeting and made their opinion known.
City officials also made it clear the city won't be going out to just arrest gang members. They will respond to crimes like usual.
"The ordinance just fills in the blanks and enhances the penalty for gang involvement," said Ed Radder, Chief of Sunnyside Police.
Members of the community say trying to fix a gang problem is a start to help the city grow and attract new residents.
"They have the same internet as we do and radio. They find out what is going on here they won't want to live here. Why would they?" explained Dopps.
The city says if the ordinance is broken violators can face up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.