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Jed Boal ReportingNeighbors in Ogden spoke out Monday night about violent crime on their streets. They want to band together to take on gang violence in their neighborhoods.
More than 100 people showed up for the open forum on gang violence. People are upset about some fatal shootings in recent weeks. The people who grabbed the mic Monday night are fed up and want to bring an end to gang violence.
"I do not want to learn to live with these thugs. I don't. I want to learn strategies to get rid of them," said resident Luci Montana.
She and many of her neighbors in Ogden have reached a point -- a breaking point -- with gang violence.
"People are dying senselessly," she said. "I want to do my part to help stop it."
Neighbors from all walks of life showed up with the same goal: come up with strategies to put a lid on gang violence.
Several gang shootings in a month caught everyone's attention.
Another resident, Cory Johnson, said, "This is our town. We're the people who pay taxes. We're the people who live here, who make this a good place to live. If we run away then we're just handing it over to them."
Tom Gallegos is a former gang member and four-time convict. He used to be part of the problem, but now he wants to be part of the solution.
"Ex-drug dealer. Ex-gang affiliated person. I can do it, and if they can see the good example instead of the example I set before, then they can do it, too," he said.
Most agree it will take a multi-dimensional approach, including more programs for the youth, more police patrols, more roundtables, and reaching out to the members of the gangs.
Ogden City Council member Jesse Garcia said, "It's a community problem. And until the community decides to do something about it and works toward that, we're going to have the same problem."
Garcia was encouraged by the great turnout Monday evening. He calls this the first step in a long journey to try to bring an end to the gang problems.