Neighbors raise awareness to gangs and drugs

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Several churches and neighborhood associations are planning a drug and gang awareness day to stop criminal activity before it becomes a bigger problem in a Fort Wayne neighborhood.

The idea for the “Hamilton Park Drug & Gang Awareness Day” came about a month ago after there was a drug bust in a house near Hamilton Park which is on Spring Street not far from St. Francis. The bust caused some neighbors to look into the drug and gang problem in their neighborhood. They asked their neighborhood officer liaison about the problem, and they found out the people running the drug house were known gang members in the police department’s registry.

Pastor Tim Hallman of Anchor Community Church which is just two blocks south of the neighborhood said the drug and gang problem isn’t extensive, but they wanted to plan an event, so it wouldn’t grow into a larger concern.

“Those that are doing the drug houses, those that are in the gangs can see that this neighborhood is standing together for something good…and that we won’t stand by and let them do whatever they want,” Pastor Hallman said.

The Awareness Day is all about showing unity and bringing the problem to the public. About seven churches along with four neighborhood associations, The Green Frog, and Wells Business Corridor have joined together to plan the Awareness Day. In addition, there will be representation from the local police and fire departments as well as city officials. The Fort Wayne K-9 Unit will be giving demonstrations to the kids and the Fort Wayne Police Department Gang Unit will be offering advice on how to discourage harmful activity around the neighborhoods and parks. People will also be able to enjoy games, music, and raffles. Organizers are hoping other more high crime areas in the city will be proactive in taking back their neighborhoods. However, they acknowledge the root of some of these choices stem from a lack of a strong family unit.

“Statistics show that a lot of men in prison don’t know their dads or had a bad relationship with their dad, so it’s important for us in standing together, and dad’s standing together, and realizing that we need to be part of the solution for these young men,” Hallman said.

The family event is open to the public and will be Wednesday, June 18 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hamilton Park.

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