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Community activist hopes to reduce gang violence in Springfield

Community activist hopes to reduce gang violence in Springfield{p}{/p}
Community activist hopes to reduce gang violence in Springfield

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Last year there was a spike in gang violence in Springfield, and although things have been a bit more quiet community activists say there's still a lot more work to be done.

"I'm an ex-con myself I understand what they going through I've been in gangs and all that type of stuff," Member of Faith Coalition For The Common Good, Aaron Pinkston-El said.

Aaron Pinkston-El was previously incarcerated for 39 years. He is hoping to reduce gang violence in Springfield.

"I don't look at Springfield as that bad you got a lot of good youngsters here that want to do right," Pinkston-El said.

May and June of 2017 were violent months for the capital city with multiple gang related shootings.

"If they don't have anything to do what is there to do?," Pinkston-El said. "They got all that energy and stuff going off in them they need something positive to do,"

Springfield Police rolled out their 'Focused Deterrence' program earlier this year, which aims at addressing group gun violence. Organizations like the Faith Coaltion For The Common Good is also getting involved by increasing mentorship opportunities.

"Normally on every Friday I'll go out to the juvenile detention center and talk with the guys out there and give them something positive to do," Pinkston-El said.

Springfield Police said what they're seeing through the focused deterrence program is encouraging, but need at least a year to truly evaluate the program's success.

Aaron said the entire community needs to do their part in order to see change.

"They need respect, we need respect, so we should give respect," Pinkston-El said.

Chief Winslow said every police department deals with violence, but there's a lot of good people in the community addressing the problem.

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Law enforcement also encourage community members to speak up and say something if you see any sort of violent activity.

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