LOMPOC, Calif. - Community leaders are stepping up to the plate to figure out ways to solve gang and drug problems in Lompoc.
Gang violence, drug addiction, and homelessness. Those were some of the topics addressed at a community forum in Lompoc tonight.
Lompoc has a history of gang activity and drug abuse in the city. But the effort of a local substance abuse treatment center is trying to rewrite that history.
Chuck Madson is the supervisor of Coast Valley Treatment Center in Lompoc. Madson leads an effort to seek positive solutions to those negative problems.
"So how do we do that? Bring everybody together and start discussing these issues," says Madson.
Those discussions began at the meeting Tuesday night. Lompoc Police had representatives attend the meeting and Mayor John Linn also showed up. Linn says the bulk of the gang and drug activity is happening in two residential communities, one of which is right across the street from Lompoc High School. The other is in the area of the 600-900 blocks of E, F, and G Streets. Surveillance cameras dot the area and police have stepped up patrol at the two locations. But Linn says more arrests is not the solution to the problem.
"The better approach if you can is you catch them before they become bad guys, you take them out of the situation," says Linn. "It's a lot cheaper and damages a lot fewer lives."
Community member B Williams says, "Lompoc always seems to have been the brunt of jokes about crime and gangs."
Williams has lived in Lompoc for 26 years. He was at the meeting hoping to hear some real solutions to problems that have cast Lompoc in a negative light to those outside the city.
"Anytime you can get this many people together from different organizations and start communicating as one to address whatever they feel the issues are, hopefully we can come up with a solution," says Williams.
Madson hopes to make these meetings a monthly event and get members of the public to attend to solve the issues. He said there is no set date for the second meeting just yet, but he hopes to have the next meeting at city hall.
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