EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - Recently a flurry of crimes across our area have been linked to gang activity.
Big city problems are here. The most startling evidence of a surge in violent crime is the murder rate in Longview. There have been 12 murders this year and that is essentially twice the national average of a city the size of Longview.
Add to that violent encounters in the Tyler area including a fatality in a gang-related shoot out where more than 60 shots were fired and it is safe to say we have a need for correction. I would disagree with Longview Mayor Andy Mack when he recently stated that we don't have a crime or homicide problem in Longview.
We do have a crime problem in Longview and Tyler and many other areas of East Texas where gang activity – some of it formal and some of it just a product of bad people being in the same location – are causing many citizens to be fearful. So, what can be done about it?
First, law enforcement must work together – this is easier said than done and it is a fact that the Texas Department of Public Safety is helping organize law enforcement efforts, but citizens need to know that our area sheriff departments, police department, city governments are sharing intel and have common specific goals to stop the bad guys.
Citizens must also step up and be aware of what they are seeing around them and not afraid to report suspicious activity. Citizens and law enforcement organized against criminal activity will prevail and make this a Better East Texas.