FORT SMITH (KFSM)- Fort Smith Police are educating residents about street gangs in our area, informing them that gangs are involved in recent violence, while explaining how the definition of a gang has evolved.
Sergeant Daniel Grubbs knows gangs and now he's sharing his background in gang intelligence with the community.
"It's good to get them together, get them information and maybe fill in blanks between recent events that they've heard about and just be truthful," Sgt. Grubbs said.
Police said recent drive-by shooting are gang-related and they're working to fight the gang problem here at home.
"Is it something that you get overly stressed about, no," Grubbs said. "But, if you start seeing multiple incidents that you can see in close concession with each other, then it's time to bring attention to it."
A new trend that police have seen within gang members; a transition from criminal street gangs to what police are calling hybrid gangs.
"Your historical criminal street gangs were centered around a certain race and ethnicity and there was extremely loyal and organization," Grubbs said. "This is completely different. There's very little organization, they switch between loyalties between one particular group or another just based on a basic fallout."
Police said several gangs are in the River Valley, as well as Northwest Arkansas. Some who attended Thursday's (July 13) discussion at the police department said they see how gangs are affecting kids, including Samantha Springs who teaches at Kimmons Junior High School.
"I feel very strongly that gangs have a presence in our schools, however, some of the kids who are in gangs are also really good kids," Springs said. "The more information we have, maybe we can help them and also help the other students at the schools."
About 25 people showed up at the discussion and police said it was just one of many they hope to plan. Future topics could include bullying and cyber safety.
Police encourage people to call the department if they suspect gang activity in their neighborhood.
You can visit the Fort Smith Police Department's Facebook page for more information about future discussions.