National Night Out prompts one community to talk gang violence

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - National Night Out gives local communities the opportunity to meet with law enforcement, but one local community took it one step further and honed in on one specific issue.

The Booker T Washington Community believes an event like National Night Out not only helps them unite with law enforcement, but it gives the people of the community the opportunity to talk to a crowd they wouldn't normally approach.

National Night Out was hosted at Futrell Park. Ann Futrell has lived in this community for more than 50 years. She says she sees crime and drug issues have gotten a lot worse with the younger crowd

"We got to teach them to be responsible for himself of herself instead of just following the crowd," she said.

Different agencies come together for National Night Out, including groups that focus on staying sober and getting people jobs. One event organizer admits it's easy to get into gang violence here, and even harder to get out

"It's easy to fall into, because some of them feel like that's their family and they feel like they need to be belonging to something," said Reverend Timothy McCray. "That's why we are reaching out to them and embracing them."

He they go into schools hoping to find the young people that are getting involved in gangs.

"We pair up with the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Solicitor's Office and refer them to our program," Rev. McCray said. "We begin to shadow them, work with them, help them find jobs."

People in the community say teamwork and collaboration are what truly make an impact and bring all age groups together.

"We love our community we think its a great place to live regardless what others may think about us," Futrell said.

Reverend McCray was excited to say it was the first national night out held in this community. He says events like these help change peoples lives forever.

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