East Texas Councilman Steps Up To Fight Crime In District

In just one week, Tyler police got six reports of gunfire in a Southwest Tyler community, and officers believe it is gang related. Now, a city councilman is urging the entire community to get involved to keep everyone safe.

Newly elected, Councilman Donald Sanders says it's time to stop gang related activity in his district.

"We have spent too much time, money, hard earned money, and sweat to let a small group come in and dictate and rule and control and destroy not only our community, but our peoples," said District 2 Councilman Donald Sanders. Last month on South Peach Street, there were three reported drive by shootings. One woman was shot in the leg while sitting in her house. A few days later, another shooting occurred at a home on Tol Street. Then just last week, four men were arrested in a home on Shaw Street for allegedly robbing a Tyler Credit Union.

This week, Sanders has been handing out flyers asking people to attend a town hall meeting tomorrow night.

"The citizens have to become involved like the lady that saw the robbers the other day," said Sanders. "When you get involved like that you can stop things from happening. Tyler police say gang activity has been consistent since the early 90's. They say it goes in cycles and right now the gangs seem to more active. In Tyler, police say there are about 200 documented members that they constantly watch.

"What we're seeing is the young ones are involved in the painting, in the graffiti," said Tyler Police Chief Gary Swindle. "The older ones, the 17, 18, 19, the ones in the younger 20's you know, they are the ones that end up being more involved in the more series activities." Police and Sanders say it's important to educate children on gangs while they are young, a topic that will be discussed at the meeting.

The town hall meeting is tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. in the D.C. Brown Heritage Building. That's on Bellwood Road in Tyler. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com