Officials urge parents to take greater role in keeping kids out of gangs

WICHITA, Kansas – As police investigate another gang-related shooting, officials are urging parents to get more involved in their kids’ lives to keep them out of gangs.

While gang-related shootings, including one Tuesday night on Ash Street in north Wichita, are up compared to 2012, some gang violence experts say overall, gang activity is actually down this summer due to the wet weather in the last month.

The Wichita Crime Commission is stepping forward to urge parents to develop a strong sense of family in their homes to help kids avoid the allure of gang life.

“They tempt them with a lot of cool things like iPhones and iPads and so on to get them into the gang, and then once they’re in they snare them even further in terms of doing the bad things that lead them down to a real criminal life,” said Gordon Bassham, the commission’s executive director.

The crime commission partners with USD 259 and school resource officers for two programs to keep kids off the streets. They organize field trips for high school students to area prisons to show the results of making poor decisions. They also hold youth court to teach students about the judicial process and adjudicate infractions in local schools.

They also have a website, http://www.gangfreewichita.org, for parents  to get more information on keeping kids out of gangs.

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