The County of Orangeburg has started a program to combat the gang issues in their area. The project, known as the Orangeburg County Gang Prevention Project 2020, intends to address the problem by educating children as early as preschool and to prevent gang recruitment that begins with children in that age group. The year 2020 is given in the name of the anti-gang group because that is when these children will be graduating high school. Orangeburg County Public Safety Chief Wendell Davis says that knowledge is their biggest weapon.
“We try to interrupt the recruitment through arming kids with tools to be able to resist gang recruitment,” said Davis. “And also making parents more aware of the problem. Again, I go back to the fact that we constantly come across parents and teachers that simply did not know what to look for in regards to a kid’s possible involvement in gang activity.’
Davis says their program has received accolades but that does not mean they cannot improve their efforts saying, “We are certainly not satisfied with the fact that we have been deemed as a model program by the Children’s Law Center or that we won the award as Coalition of the Year.
“We want to further our efforts and one thing that we can do a better job at is coalating those resources.”
Chief Davis also says they are always looking for motivated individuals to help with their cause. “These kids are going down the wrong path and somebody needs to do something,” he said. “A lot of times we have a lot of waiting on the next person to do something about it instead of saying, ‘you know what? We can do something about it’ or ‘I can do something about it’. I guess what I am seeking are those people who are of the mindset that says, ‘I can do something about it and this is the resource that I have.'”
The project incorporates both community leaders and law enforcement.