There may be as many as 30 gangs operating in York City.
Some are locally based. But many hail from out of town, bringing drugs and violence to neighborhood streets. Here, drug dealers enjoy a much higher profit margin than they do in the big cities, Police Chief Wes Kahley said.
Police do their best to stop the gangs and the violence, Kahley said, but it will take the community's help to reclaim the streets. Identifying the problem is the first step, he said.
"You really can't change things if you take a stance with your head in the sand that nothing's really happening," he said.
That's part of the message Kahley and Officer Larry Lawrence will deliver this weekend at a workshop about gun violence.
The event is being hosted by CeaseFire PA, which has a York chapter. The public is invited to join the discussion from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Charter School, 559 W. King St.
Kahley said his message is aimed at the entire community but is especially for parents who have the on-the-front-lines ability to intervene before their teenager gets involved in a gang.
really has to get involved," he said.
Reform: Also speaking Saturday are Mayor Kim Bracey and Max Nacheman, executive director of CeaseFire, an anti-gun-violence organization that advocates for improvements to the state's background check system and mandated lost-or-stolen gun reporting.
Nacheman said he's planning to lead a discussion about policy issues. He said most people are in favor of "reasonable reforms" that would curb the illegal sale and distribution of guns.
"Until they speak up ... it's very difficult to see any real policy reform," Nacheman said. "The extreme people on the other side speak up a lot, and so they are overrepresented in our Legislature."
Nacheman said he'll talk about specific gun-related proposals at the state and federal levels.
"People have to know what's going on in Harrisburg," he said.
-- Reach Erin James at 505-5439 or email@example.com or on Twitter @ydcity.