Gang activity closes popular ponds - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gang activity closes popular ponds

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WAPATO, Wash - On most days the pond is packed with fishermen and swimmers. Today it is empty and the gate leading to the ponds is locked. The only thing there is the graffiti -- it's everywhere, so is the trash.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife believe its all from gangs.

"They have tagged everything," said Gene Beireis, a sergeant with the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

According to Beireis, graffiti and trash left from gangs is a constant summer problem, but this year its become so bad Fish and Wildlife is closing Ponds 4 and 5, just off of I-82 near Wapato.

"We don't want to do this, its a last ditch effort."

Beireis says its a matter of public safety. So far there haven't been any reports of fights between rival gangs but the area has become such a magnet for gangs that the Fish and Wildlife thinks its only a matter of time before a fight breaks out, possible endangering the public.

So from now on the gate is locked and the ponds closed -- likely for the rest of the summer.