published Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Chattanooga's anti-gang program adds site on Web

 Boyd Patterson, coordinator of the City of Chattanooga Gang Task Force
Boyd Patterson, coordinator of the City of Chattanooga Gang Task Force
Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
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IF YOU GO

Victor Woods, who was served two terms in federal prison, now is a motivational speaker. He will visit Chattanooga to share his story with inmates and community members July 11-15 and to participate in a Cease Fire Rally from 5 to 7 p.m. July 12 at the Bethlehem Center.

ONLINE

Visit the anti-gang task force website, www.thefutureisours.net.

Six months into an anti-gang program based on a national model, Chattanooga has launched a new website aimed at helping families and community members access local services.

The website targets gang members trying to reform, parents who may have questions about gangs and community members wanting to lend a hand, said Boyd Patterson, a project coordinator for the anti-gang initiative.

The web address, TheFutureIsOurs.net, uses the initiative's slogan.

Patterson said the website was created by Chattanooga-based Maycreate and its $6,000 to $7,000 cost was funded through the mayor's office. It will be featured in marketing campaigns for the initiative.

The site does not feature a way to submit tips about graffiti or gang activity to law enforcement.

"We want kids' part of 'The Future Is Ours' not to be branded as snitches," Patterson said.

The site has a "contact us" box where tips could be submitted and passed on to authorities. Anti-gang initiative members talked Friday about adding a way to post anonymous comments. They also discussed creating an "escape" button, such as is used on Partnership for Families, Children and Adults' website, to allow readers quickly to change pages.

The Web page features links to United Way and to various social services within a 30-mile radius, information about gangs for parents and community members and a calendar of events of community activities targeted for youth.

Hamilton County District Attorney General Bill Cox asked that a section be added to tell youth about consequences of gang membership, which could include prison or death.

"Things like you won't be able to get a job. You won't be able to get into the military," he said.

The site also features links to Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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