SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — After a gang-related shooting at a Des Moines education center left two people dead on Monday, Sioux City officials said gang activity still happens in Siouxland too.
Fitz Grant has been working with the Sanford Community Center since the 1990s to help youth in Siouxland. He said gang issues in Sioux City have improved immensely since the 1990s. He said gang activity was quite frequent back then in Sioux City.
“You had kids bringing weapons to school,” he said. “Kids were actually gang banging, fighting within the schools, you saw a lot of graffiti in our community, things of that nature.”
The Sanford Community Center launched its gang outreach program and Grant began going into schools and educating kids. He said while reducing gang activity is a continuous effort, he’s proud of the progress Sioux City has made.
“The activity is very minimal in our community,” he said. “You don’t see a lot of graffiti in our community. You don’t see a lot of kids dressing out in our communities.”
Zachary Nelson is a supervisor with juvenile court services in Sioux City. That department works with minors who commit crimes, and most of those are simple misdemeanors.
“Things like shoplifting, simple assaults, things of that nature, but then we get into a lot more serious community safety-type safety acts,” Nelson said. “You’re talking about burglaries, you’re talking about sex abuse.”
Nelson said rehabilitation is essential and that starts with closely monitoring troubled youth.
“Making sure they’re going to school and banning certain areas that may be unhealthy for them and so that suppression effort is one part of it,” he said.
Nelson said gang members like notoriety, so his department does not identify the names of any Sioux City gangs.