City of Merced slates eight Gang Awareness Workshops open to everyone

The city of Merced said everyone is invited to learn more about criminal street gangs, how to recognize a child's activity in a gang and what can be done to prevent the problem at the gang awareness workshops.

The program is designed to give parents and the public information on gangs, the threat they pose to the community and how to steer children away from gangs. Photos of gang apparel, tattoos, colors and graffiti will be shown to help recognize gang activity, the city said in a news release.

Parents of gang members will talk about their children's membership in street gangs and how they failed to recognize the signs until it was too late, the news release continued.

The Merced Police Department program is offered in conjunction with Merced Community Violence Prevention & Intervention Task Force, a regional group that includes local government, schools, the faith-based community, courts and social services.

The workshops will be held through May, with some additional dates expected. To schedule a workshop for your school, organization or business, please call Lt. Andre Matthews at (209) 385-8885.

Here is the current schedule of workshops. All workshops are at 6 p.m. and open to anyone:

Today, Yosemite Apartments, 3278 Denver Ave.

May 13, Merced Meadows Apartments, 3125 Meadows Ave.

May 20, East Campus Educational Center, 1900 G St.

June 10, Merced PD Central Station, 611 W. 22nd St.

June 17, Hoover Middle School, 800E. 26th St.

July 1, Tenaya Middle School, 760 W. Eighth St.

July 8, Cruickshank Middle School, 601 Cormorant Drive.

July 29, Rivera Middle School, 945 Buena Vista Drive.