Darrick Boyes (left)

Darrick Boyes (left)

Gang violence to be focus of meeting

Another meeting focused on gang violence in Williams Lake is slated for Thursday at city hall.

Another meeting focused on gang violence in Williams Lake is slated for Thursday at city hall.

“It will be our fourth meeting,” said Erin and Pat Graham with Guardian Youth at Risk and Family Services who have been organizing the meetings.

The main focus of Thursday’s meeting will be to gather funded agencies together to talk to each other, said Mayor Walt Cobb.

“We want to find any gaps there may be as far as what services need to be provided to alleviate the crime issue,” he said.

Before another big community meeting can be called it’s important to identify key support services that are available in the community and determine next steps, Cobb said.

“It’s no use having meeting after meeting if we don’t have a game plan.”

Erin said an important piece in the puzzle is having people in the community who are willing to stand up in a court room and say what they saw.

As an ex-gang member who has reformed his life, Pat hopes to be able to help youth in and around Williams Lake emerge from the gang life.

“Since he was three years old, he was a victim of the system,” Erin said of her husband.

“We want those gang members to know they are not alone and can change their lives.”

Darrick Boyes, who volunteers with the group said they also want to be able to offer solutions to active gang members,  criminals and victims.

“We want to try and be approachable for anyone looking for help,” Boyes said.

“We’re not a vigilante group. We are not pointing fingers at anybody but we are not going to sit here and deny the fact we have a problem.”

The meeting takes place 2 to 3:30 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

The group has also started a Facebook page titled Taking Back the Streets of Williams Lake.

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