Dover Looks to Stop Gang Violence - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover Looks to Stop Gang Violence

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A photo from the scene of a shooting on Reed St. in Dover in the middle of the night. Residents and city officials are working to stop this type of violence. (Photo: Roy Sudler, Jr.) A photo from the scene of a shooting on Reed St. in Dover in the middle of the night. Residents and city officials are working to stop this type of violence. (Photo: Roy Sudler, Jr.)

DOVER, Del.- City Councilman Roy Sudler, Jr. held a community meeting Wednesday night to talk about solutions to gang activity in Dover, which he says is on the rise.

Sudler's initiative comes out of a City Council resolution that focuses on an increase in violence in the city.

Pauline Smith lives on Kirkwood Street in Dover, a street where violence is known to take place.

"And in the evening when you hear the guns shooting," she said, "You duck in your bed or your duck on the floor, because you don't know where the shooting is coming from."

People on Kirkwood Street have shown WBOC bullet holes in the sides of their homes. Sudler gathered about 70 people for a community meeting about gangs Wednesday. Among them was Tony Jackson, a former gang member who served eight years in prison. He said he used to be a drug dealer and gang member.

"I want to bring them all together and [have them] understand," he said. "You don't have to do that to be- you need money? Get a job. Get a talent. Go to college and learn of a trade. You don't have to be in a gang to be popular. You're going to be dead or in jail."

Jackson runs a basketball tournament group called 302 Ballers. It hosts tournaments in an effort to better local neighborhoods and bring at-risk teens together.

Sudler says there are about four gangs reported this year in Dover, and one of them is The Bloods. He says his committees and work groups are seeking grants and state funds to help bring more small police substations to high crime areas of Dover.

"What we're trying to do is reach out to the community and try and take back the City of Dover," he told WBOC. "We have to do it now before it spreads like cancer without radiation treatment."

Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman, a spokesman for the Dover Police Department, says typically the gangs are concentrated in certain pockets of the city and are not a widespread issue geographically.

"For the most part we are seeing younger persons involved from teens to 20-somethings," he said. "Our department is familiar with the majority of gang members and who they may be affiliated with."

Troy Jackson's next basketball tournament with the 302 Ballers is scheduled for May 28 from 9-4 p.m. at Capital Green Basketball Courts.

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