Scrubbing out gang violence in Kinston - WNCN: News, Weather

Scrubbing out gang violence in Kinston

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KINSTON, N.C. - Kinston Police, Fire & Rescue, and community volunteers kick out graffiti to fight gang violence.

On Saturday, dozens of people came out to remove graffiti from homes and commercial buildings. The effort was part of the Kinston Department of Public Safety’s K.I.C.K program, or Kinston in Control of Kinston.

The crews spent five hours scrubbing away graffiti from 30 structures around the city.

The idea to tackle graffiti in the community came from Officer Tiffanie Domer.

“I saw how bad it had gotten, how bad the gang violence has gotten, and you have to start somewhere. The community needs to know that the gangs don't own this place we do; so, it's just a good place to start," said Domer.

KDPS Community Action Team Sergeant Stephen Reavis says Kinston is seeing a growth in gang activity and violence.

“The gangs might not be as organized as they are in Chicago, New York, and Detroit; but, what they are is just as dangerous. For a community our size the violence that they bring to it is an issue," said Reavis.

To try and tackle the violence, Reavis says getting rid of the gangs’ free advertisements on buildings is the first step,” said Reavis.

“Most of our violent crime in Kinston is associated with street gang activity. This is one of the means that we're addressing it, through prevention, intervention, and of course suppression strategies,” said Reavis.

KDPS says removing the graffiti is also sending a message to the gangs in the community.

“It's a warning to them. It's wake up call that the things that you've done in the pass are no longer going to be tolerated by the community. The community in return is going to assist the police department and we're going to be more effective investigating our crimes and closing our cases” said Reavis.

This is the first time the KDPS and community volunteers are partnering to scrub away graffiti.

Reavis says the department hopes to expand the program in the future.

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