Neighbors teaming up with police to fight gang violence

Monday police, city leaders and the community teamed up in an effort to stop gang violence

COLUMBIA (WACH) -- After a month of violent gang activity that left a mother of four dead, a child hit by a stray bullet while watching TV and a father gunned down just feet from his toddler, police say gang members are to blame in all of those cases.

Monday police, city leaders and the community teamed up in an effort to stop the violence.

Faith leaders and Non-Profits in Columbia's Lyon street community are starting a new program called Three Peas in a Pod.

The program will show teens and young adults there are better options than a life of crime.

Pastor Anthony Dicks of Friendship Baptist Church is leading Three Peas in a Pod and says after years of violence in the neighborhood he had to do something.

"Anytime a childâ??s life is taken, thatâ??s serious, anytime you can't sleep at night because of gun fire it's a serious matter," said Dicks.

One of the groups that's working with the Lyon Street church is Positive Expressions, an agency that uses art to help channel teens energy and allow them to use it in a positive way.

"All the graffiti you see and the drawings skills the abilities the dance, the moves all that they do channeling that into a right direction," adds Dicks.

"Through the arts there is no limit to your expression, if I want to paint a picture that depicts my anger I'm not hurting anybody," said Positive Expressions founder Kimberly Hunter.

Hunter created the agency and says art helped her express her feelings and has become a passion.

She says the Three Peas in the Pod program will be hitting the streets and talking to kids that may need a positive impact in their lives. She adds once the teens are in the program they'll be leaning from their peers.

"We hope that through the children that will be involved in the programs that they to can shed light on, if we can be reformed, if we can see some hope, then we want to educate you that you can do the same," adds Hunter.

"Our fight is not over we got to stay at it, that we can't let up on it," concludes Dicks.