LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg is also working to fight gang activity, numbers are showing gang participation is on the rise.
Around this time last year we reported there were 630 identified gang members in Lynchburg.
Lynchburg police tell 10 News as of right now they know of nearly 700 gang members. About 19 of them are juveniles.
There are a total of 52 identified gangs—including street and bike gangs.
The police chief tells me they’re using intelligence-led policing to address gang-related activity within the schools.
Community leader B.B. Shavers said the numbers are alarming.
He adds his before and after school program, promoting positive self-image, has been doing well with some young people in one neighborhood.
“We have no room in our community, or especially in our schools, for gangs. We have no room in our schools or community for violent behavior, as well, so we want our kids in our schools to be there to learn,” Chief Ryan Zuidema said.
“We had kids that used to be involved with gang activity that’s no longer a part of that. We had kids, like I said, because of gang activity got kicked out of school that two years later we got them back prepared to graduate,” Shavers said.
10 News contacted Bedford County Sheriff's Office, who couldn’t share numbers with us, but said they aren't seeing the same problem as Roanoke or Lynchburg, but they have identified gang members who that live in the community.