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Community helps fight gang activity
PORT ARTHUR-By: Leslie Rangel
A recent state study showed gang activity was not decreasing in Texas and with summer months ahead of us, local police departments say they expect gang activity to increase.
Some Port Arthur community members aren't letting the predictions deter them from helping to stop gang activity.
For more than fifty years, Henry Barbosa has called Port Arthur home.
"I went to school in the neighborhood, I played in the neighborhood, I grew up here and I hate to see it go to what it's like here now," Barbosa said.
We first reported back in April, here in East Port Arthur, gang activity is visible by what's written on the walls.
"[They're] trying to mark what they consider their territory which it's not, it belongs to the people that pay the taxes on the house not the kids who want to act like they own the property," Barbosa says.
Property Barbosa says he's determined to fight for through a project he helps with called the anti-graffiti project.
"I volunteer to do it, I mean, I don't get paid for it, I do it because I want to do it, I get fulfillment out of it," Barbosa says.
"Take back your neighborhood, it might be one house, one block at a time, but that's how we're going to do it," Marcelo Molfino, a street crimes investigator said.
Sentiments that run so deep, even retired Judge Bob Wortham helped clean up the mess.
"People have to defend their own rights, people have to stand up and say they're not going to allow these individuals to bully them," Wortham said.
A stance Barbosa says he'll take for the love of his community.
"It's just uncalled for, if they had any pride in their self in their family they wouldn't do this," Barbosa says.
We tried to speak with the property owner of the building, but she declined for fear of retaliation from gangs.
Police say her guard dogs were stolen a day after she was seen talking to police.
If you would like information on how to volunteer or need help cleaning up in your neighborhood, contact Port Arthur Police.