CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - City leaders and communities sent a message to gang members in North Charleston: call them.
In a press conference Tuesday evening, Charleston County council members Teddie Pryor and Henry Darby, along with local activists, gave out phone numbers, saying it's time to bring people together.
"We need to get all of you to the table to talk," council member Darby said. "A plan has been developed to stop us from killing one another."
The men then gave out their personal telephone numbers.
Among the numbers given out were:
- (843) 901-6793
- (843) 300-2493
- (843) 926-3994
Darby said this is the first step to stop the unnecessary gang violence in North Charleston.
"Too much of the black community has gone to the front wheel lanes of gangs, drugs, teen and pre-teen sexual promiscuity and unemployment," Darby said. "It is destroying us."
The men are focusing on gang activity on Remount Road, Liberty Hill, Ferndale and Dorchester Waylyn.
Darby referenced the 11 shooting related deaths that have happened in North Charleston since January.
"It is time for the black community to come home," Darby said. "It is time for black man to make their family whole again."
The men said they're addressing gang violence first, asking all black men involved in gangs to call them and simply talk.
"This has nothing to do with you getting into trouble," Darby said. "We need to talk face to face, mature men to young men."
Right now, law enforcement isn't involved in this effort, there's no funding for a plan. The men just hope those involved in gangs know they're not giving up.
"We are going to them if they don't come to us," Darby said.
Some who live in the area said they don't feel safe.
"We hear gun shots at night," Karen Howell said, who lives off Remount Road. "It is getting ridiculous."
Others, who live in the Liberty Hill neighborhood, said it doesn't have to be dark to be unsafe.
"I just try to stay in my house and keep on praying that's all I can do," Cassenia Times said.
"I keep my door locked," Ida Jane Bryan said. "The only time I go outside is to check the mailbox and back inside."
While Charleston leaders urge gang members to come forward, others in the community have additional advice.
"They need to get closer to God, that's what they need to do," Times said.