Gang Awareness Meeting For Parents in Hermiston - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Gang Awareness Meeting For Parents in Hermiston

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HERMISTON, Ore.-- Armand Larive Middle School invited Hermiston Police to give a detailed presentation about gang related issues.

Gang related crimes in the Hermiston community have been an ongoing problem for many years. Just ask Virginia Garcia, who's been living in hermiston for more than 20 years.

"Even back since the early 90's, there were some gang activities going on," said Virginia R. Garcia, a Hermiston resident.

Graffiti continues to be one of the biggest concerns, but not only for homeowners. Students are also seeing it at school.

"I'll walk in the bathroom or walk in the stall and they'll be 'Sur 13' printed on the side or north or you know cuss words," said Isaiah Tolnan, an 8th. grade student at ALMS.

Isaiah says sometimes it's not too hard to tell who the tag artists are.

"I know quite a few people who flash gang signs and they're wearing their belts low," said Tolnan.

Many parents are concerned and want to know what their kids are up to at school.  

"If there's gang related things, I want to be more informed on what's going on," said Ron Tolnan, a parent who attended the meeting.

Hermiston police say about 90% of graffiti crimes in Hermiston are gang related. Officers say they're always available for parents as resources to prevent their kids from engaging in gang activity, before it's too late.

"If they're asking for help we can assist by talking to them one on one including the child, or we can contact the juvenile department and they're more than happy to help them in better communicating with their children," said Victor Gutierrez, with the Hermiston Police Department.