Local group focuses on gang prevention

By Stephen Pritzen

The DeKalb Community Development Committee held another meeting last night to discuss its role in the prevention of the infectious spreading of gangs in DeKalb.

The DeKalb Community Development Committee (DCDC) organizes many activities that bring an awareness to community members and bring people of the community together.

“Getting to know your neighbors is what’s important. We need to stress a sense of community,” said Detective Bruce Borders of the DeKalb Police Department.

DCDC said this unity is their strength.

“A program now exists for a neighborhood watch,” said Ed Balli, co-chairman for DCDC. “People pay more notice of what’s going on when you know your neighbors.”

“We are not spying on each other,” Borders said. “When you get to know your neighbors, you are more likely to want to look out for them.”

The DCDC’s main focus is the “at risk” youth and its programs are geared at these potential gang members.

Derrick Smith, vice president of Mens Club, an organization that sponsors youth activities, said he attended the meeting to talk about the success of the various recreational activities provided by such organization for the youths.

“These activities keep the kids busy and give them a choice and the people involved provide good role models for the kids,” Smith said.

Some of the activities Smith organized include basketball tournaments and a talent show featuring an anti-drug and anti-gang rap competition.

Some concern surfaced about gang-related incidents at NIU.

Judy King, DCDC chairman, said NIU administration has been more than cooperative when discussing gang-related incidents at the university.

“NIU is a part of the equation and we ask students to make common sense decisions on who you invite to the school,” King said. “Students need to take responsibility for their guests. The students are adults and we need to spend time worrying about the kids at risk of joining gangs.”