Does Shreveport have a gang problem?

((Source: Gray Media))
Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 2:33 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Many of the recent shootings in Shreveport have involved juveniles. The participation of area youths has some wondering if there is a gang problem in the city.

Both Prator and SPD Substitute Police Chief Wayne Smith say the gang problem is one of the main reasons why they city is seeing so much violence.

Within the past two weeks, juveniles have committed serious violent crimes and destruction of property. This is causing fear and leading residents to believe no where in Shreveport is safe.

Smith says the police department is working to stop these gangs.

“We certainly have a plan in place to infiltrate their seemingly organized structure to get younger and younger people to their group and convince them, nurture them, to take the wrong path,” he said.

Prator says there is an ongoing problem with around seven to nine gangs in the area.

“Shreveport has a gang problem, a gang problem within young people. Not that kind of gang problem you remember with the Crips and the Bloods. They are not as organized,” said Prator.

However, they are organized enough to steal cars, use stolen guns and recruit young teens to help commit crimes.

KSLA’s Legal Expert, Attorney J. Antonio Florence, said there is more to the violence than just a gang problem.

“To limit it to a gang problem is a limitation. Our problem is bigger kids unsupervised out in the streets. Are the parents at fault, government, police, community? Absolutely,” he said.

Community activists say there needs to be more activities for kids, and parents need to take more accountability for their actions.

People’s Promise Founder Breka Peoples says she believes there needs to be more outreach activities for kids.

“They didn’t put anything in place for our kids to do anything, we don’t have anything for our kids to do,” she said.

Peoples is on the frontline for many community issues and has stressed the importance of parenting.

“You’re going to know what your children are doing. We’re supposed to know what our children are doing,” she said.

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