DANVILLE, Va. (WDBJ7) Danville Police are focusing on gang activity after a violent 2016. Now, the city has created a gang task force. They met for the first time Wednesday to discuss strategies.
Danville City Councilman Lee Vogler says the gang task force is going to be a work horse, not a show horse. He says people won’t see the task force out much, most of their work will be behind the scenes.
“It’s about time. It’s a good thing," says longtime Danville resident, Ric Scott.
Scott says Danville isn’t the city it used to be. He has two sons.
“I worry for their safety. I can’t keep my family in my pocket," Scott said.
He tries to give them advice.
“Always look around. Watch yourself. Be safe. If you see something that’s going to be unsafe, don’t go to it," Scott told his boys.
City officials heard residents concerns and have started the new gang task force.
Coming off a record-year of homicides in 2016, multiple agencies are collaborating to fight the problem.
“There’s not a singular police solution to fixing this. There’s not a school solution that will fix this. It’s going to take all these different things working in conjunction with one another to truly solve this," Vogler said.
“Information sharing is a good thing in our profession," Danville Sheriff Mike Mondul said.
The city is increasing police presence. Police are adding a precinct near the Third Avenue Fire Station.
“Law enforcement officials, government officials, and people that are working hard to try to get the root of the issue and make them safer," Mondul said.
The police can't solve the crime issue themselves.
“We need everybody working together on this. It is a community effort to truly get this under control," Vogler said.
The gang task force is just one of nearly 30 short and long-term strategies to combat violent crime. City council came up with the strategies at December’s city council meeting.