Issue must be tackled from variety of angles.
Gang activity isn't limited to big cities.
That fact is well known to local crime fighters who've been determined to deter gangs and their destructive behavior.
Garden City and Finney County have made inroads in combating gang activity since making it a priority more than a decade ago. Full-time law enforcement gang units and gang-prevention instruction in local schools have made a difference.
But with gangs still determined to enlist as many youngsters as possible, law enforcement officers know they can't go it alone.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt drove home that important message during an appearance Thursday at Garden City High School. It was an appropriate setting for the AG's discussion on an initiative aimed at educating students and the public on warning signs of gang activity.
Schmidt shared details of a new website — gangfreekansas.org — and other strategies to curb gangs and their criminal acts. Information will be available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese, which should help reach more people in diverse Garden City and similar Kansas communities.
Such education also has to extend beyond youngsters who could be tempted by the gang way of life. Parents and other stakeholders need to understand the true extent of the problem, and be on the lookout for warning signs.
Clues of gang activity can appear in many ways, from how youth talk to their clothing. Graffiti is an annoying and costly reminder of gang activity, and even worse would be the ever-present threat of gang violence.
Of course, communities interested in reducing gang activity have to do more than acknowledge the negative fallout. It's also necessary to engage in discussions of ways to develop and build on positive alternatives for youngsters that keep them from making poor choices.
As the attorney general rightly noted, gang activity is a community problem that can't be solved by law enforcement agencies alone.
Parents, educators and other stakeholders need to get together and arm themselves with as many strategies as possible to reach youngsters in hopes of steering them clear of gang activity that not only damages communities, but also destroys young lives.