Gang violence is a complex problem born of the simple human need of being accepted.
"If you're not with a certain person or people or group, then you're easy prey for other people, or you get the peer pressures," according to J.J. Ramirez.
His Save Our Streets Ministries is at the forefront of the grassroots effort to slow violent crime on the streets, a trend that cycles throughout communities, a trend that hasn't peaked in Bryan since the early 90s. Also at the forefront: authorities, and Ramirez says their successes let gangs know what they're doing won't be tolerated.
"If people don't feel like anything's getting done on that side, then they take matters into their own hands," said Ramirez. "Then you see the growth."
"We focus our efforts in one place and violent crimes occur in another place," said Shane Bush, a member of Bryan PD's direct deployment team. "Then, we focus our efforts in that place. I would say it just moves around."
Bush has seen it many times. The crime moves where the police aren't. So they continually ask for their partners in crime-fighting -- the community -- to help.
"One of the main things is cooperating with police and giving us information," he said. "There's not much we can do about violence in your community and things going on in your neighborhood without information."
And within communities are families. Another prong in the teaching of right and wrong lies there.
"It starts at the home," Ramirez said. "The lessons don't start when they go to school. The lessons start at home."
And those who have called the streets home and those who patrol them need all aspects to work for violence to fail.
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