MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — A call to action from the Mobile Police Department to all parents.
The department’s Operation Echo Stop, which centers around stopping gun violence in the Port City, held a meeting Tuesday night at Bishop State Community College offering parents solutions and advice to help curb the issue of gang violence.
In the town hall meeting, officials with MPD’s Operation Echo Stop offered parents solutions and initiatives to help prevent the issue of gun violence in the city. They said that it takes parental involvement to help stop the issue.
Commander Kevin Levy with the Gulf Coast Technology Center and Mobile Police Department said there’s an alarming trend of children getting involved in activity in the city.
“What’s alarming is the age of the people who the young youth choose to participate and what happens is a sort of get the snowball effect,” Levy explained. “So as people search for a place to belong and a place to have power and a position in society, whether that’s on the street, in a community, in your classroom, wherever it is, those sorts of trends become dangerous.”
But parents can’t do it all alone as Operation Echo Stop is still figuring out ways to fight the issue, and they are willing to travel to different parts of the city to continue the conversation.
In light of Alabama’s gang violence prevention law, officials with Mobile Police shared gang identifiers to tell parents what to look out for.
Some of those identifiers included: tattoos, hand signs and gestures, language and slang on social media, and the kind of music someone listens to.
Parents like Abrion Hunter believe the meeting was helpful as she is working to prevent her 17-year-old son from being around that activity.
“That’s his choice, but my thing is it’s not allowed in my household; it is not allowed around my household,” Hunter said. “My son tends to go to school and get involved in these types of things. And I want to basically pull him out of that, you know?”
However, other citizens like Nikklos Kidd believe the was a step in the right direction, but it’s going to take more than tips and a meeting from his local police department to solve the issue head-on.
“We’re dependent on the government to solve these problems that we have created because we have not raised our children like we should have; we have not disciplined our children like we should have,” Kidd said after the meeting. “We’ve got to stop looking for the government to solve these problems.”
Tuesday’s meeting was one out of two they held to have parents get involved in stopping youth gang violence. The next meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the Dayspring Baptist Church on Cody Road at 6:30 p.m. The address is 2200 Cody Road South.