STOCKTON (CBS13) – People in Stockton say they are sick and tired of gang violence plaguing their streets, and on Thursday the Office of Violence Prevention held a community engagement meeting to talk about how people can help.
Gang violence has been a long-standing problem in Stockton, and now the community says it wants to be a part of the solution.
“We don’t connect until after there’s a shooting,” said Kathleen Gapusan.
The battle against gun and gang violence hits home for Gapusan. She lost her cousin and his wife to a double murder more than a decade ago and the violence didn’t stop there.
Gapusan had to bury her own daughter who was shot to death by an ex-boyfriend about three years ago.
“I kind of got involved in city hall and politics and I can’t be angry, so I have to do something positive,” Gapusan said.
She works with non-profit organizations in Stockton to help at-risk youth and now she wants to hit the core of what she says is sparking the violence.
“The one common thread we need to work on is family,” Gapusan said.
Family was a hot topic in Thursday morning’s meeting, with many of the community members saying a successful future starts at home.
“We are discussing what resources are available, solutions and ways to prevent future violence,” said Jayda Daniels.
Daniels has already begun contributing to her community.
She works in the retail industry and says she looks at all her customers like they are one of her own.
“Every person I meet I try to make an impact on them; I get the best out of them and help them recognize they are good people too,” Daniels said.
But Daniels says it’s not easy living in Stockton when you feel like there’s a target on your back. That’s why she says the community needs to band together and fight for a safer Stockton.
“It’s a constant reminder that it can be you, if I’m at the wrong place at the wrong time I could die,” Daniels said.
The U.S. Army base in Lathrop is also battling gang and gun violence; the base currently recruiting about two-hundred at-risk youth around the Stockton area for the Discovery Challenge Academy in Northern California.
The academy will begin in January of 2017.