Lakeland residents unite to battle gang violence



LAKELAND, Fla. - Residents in Lakeland are coming together to take back their streets in the battle against growing gang violence.

Tuesday night, the city's new gang task force held a community forum where they tossed around a plan to help reduce the gang violence.

Police said in the last three weeks, there have been four drive-by shootings in the city's northwest area.

Those who spoke during the meeting agreed it will take the entire community to stop the violence.

"In all of my years, I have never seen it to this point," said Pastor Edgar Pickett. "To see what our kids are going through and doing to each other is heart wrenching."

Pickett said his 23-year-old cousin was killed two months ago in a drive-by shooting.

The Lakeland Police Department estimates there are 46 gangs in the city, but only about four are causing the majority of the problems since last year.