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Springfield City Officials Make Plans to Stop Gang Violence

avon1SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – With an uptick in street violence in Springfield this past week and a half, city officials are doing their best to try and curb that violence and find ways to stop it.

Last Wednesday, in broad daylight, a man was shot down on Avon Place in Springfield. A week earlier, an 18-year-old woman was shot and killed on Union Street. Now, leaders throughout the city are saying enough.

“I know we went through a tough four or five days and it pains me. Many times people ask, ‘why do you take it so serious or so personal?’ Well it’s our city,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Mayor Sarno said Springfield is no stranger to violent crime. That’s why the city is stepping up its Prevention Task Team to help prevent the problem.

“We’re going to continue to be ever vigilant. This is an ongoing war on crime and we’re going to continue it. We had a little bit of an uptick, we will beat this back down as we also do,” said Sarno.

The goal is to educate the youth and promote positivity throughout the city.

“The negative things, while they are important and we should address them, that’s actually a small part of what’s happening in this community. Most of what’s happening, 99% of it is good, is positive,” said Kirk Smith, President and CEO of YMCA Greater Springfield.

This is important so that students coming into the city for school won’t have to think twice before stepping out in their neighborhoods.

“I wish I could live there and not have it in the back of my mind that there could be potentially this gang that always comes around or these people that had the shooting down the street,” said AIC student, Josh Gagnon.

“We all want to feel safe and we all deserve to be safe,” said Smith.

Springfield’s Violence Prevention Task Force plans to speak out Tuesday June 17th in a press conference at 2:00 PM. There they will announce a gang awareness presentation aimed at curbing gang violence throughout the city. The presentation itself will take place on Saturday June 28th from 11:00-2:00 at AIC’s Griswold Theatre.

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