New efforts to combat gang crimes

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Major dollars are coming to fight gang crime in the Tri-Cities. The outreach program F.I.R.M.E. got a grant worth half a million distributed over five years.

The group will focus on a comprehensive plan to target gangs. Representatives from school districts, the prosecutor's office and law enforcement met on the issue Thursday. The agencies will start by submitting gang-related crime statistics in the coming weeks.

"What I'm excited to see is youth coming together, getting out of the gangs, and to quit committing crimes, and to be productive members of society," said former gang member Maurice Brown.

The Benton County Gang Task Force says gang-related calls have dropped by nearly half over the past few years.