nlv meeting

North Las Vegas residents attend a community meeting with police. 

NORTH LAS VEGAS -- Neighbors in North Las Vegas got what they asked for Wednesday night: a community meeting about the recent spike in crime. 

Last week, dozens of people packed into the Alexander Library hoping to get their questions about crime answered, but police officers would only talk about traffic.

On Tuesday night, a handful of city leaders including Police Chief Pamela Ojeda and Mayor John Lee, were ready to talk crime and safety. 

Resident John DeCicco told FOX5 Vegas the meeting more than made up for the week before. 

“This is what we thought last week's meeting was going to be all about,” he said. 

Erik Huey also was at both meetings. 

“I was glad to see some of the slides of the resources that are going to be made available -- the three-point plan presented by the chief," he said. "I was glad to see her this evening." 

Huey said the real test will be what happens in the next 30 days. 

“Action speaks louder than words,” he said. 

There were significantly fewer people there Tuesday night -- totaling about 30 community members. Some people reached out to FOX5 and said they were disappointed they couldn’t go.

Like Huey, other people said it was last-minute. Others said they couldn’t make it because it was too early in the evening and interfered with work. 

For the people that attended, they heard a lot about community engagement. 

 “If we could just tap into those resources, perhaps we can eliminate and stop some of the things that happen after we don’t address it,” said Portland Preston, who helps run the North Las Vegas Community Engagement program. 

Preston talked about all the programs the department offers.

For example, officers will go to homes and businesses to evaluate safety. They will also offer recommendations on how to make a place even safer. 

Ojeda focused on what they’re doing within the department. 

“We’re restructuring some of our command,” she said. 

Just as in her interview with FOX5 last week, Ojeda told the crowd more officers will patrol high-crime areas -- and 26 new officers will hit the streets this month. 

Many leaders who spoke Tuesday night said this violence is not unique to North Las Vegas. 

“It’s not a North Las Vegas issue. It’s going on throughout the valley, and we’re working on it,” Ojeda said. 

The Rev. Troy Martinez had similar comments. 

“Everything we’re seeing is not a direct result of our community, but things that are coming into our community,” he told the crowd. 

Some say it’s about parenting -- that kids that are neglected turn to gangs. 

“The whole gang mentality is, ‘I can belong some place and I can be somebody, and people look up to me,’” said state Sen. Pam Spearman. 

At least one of November's deadly shootings involved gang members. 

DeCicco asked police what they’re doing to infiltrate and stop local gangs. 

FOX5 talked to a regional gang unit representative who can’t reveal his identity. He said he wants to get rid of gangs. 

“Gangs evolve. They change. From traditional gangs -- bloods and crips -- that’s no more. These kids -- they could make up a name right now.” 

It’s why many neighbors want to see more after-school activities for kids. 

“What concerns me the most is we don’t have coordinated after-school programs for our children here in this community,” said Spearman. 

Huey agreed and wants to help change that. 

“If it takes CCSD’s gang unit to come into these schools and let them know that there are alternatives, then let’s do it," Spearman said. "If these kids need something to do, then let’s get these programs up and running." 

Police said there will be more opportunities for community engagement in the future. 

Copyright 2018 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

FOX5 Multimedia Journalist

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