It’s no secret, Wichita police have said they’re seeing an increase in gang activity. but what’s causing it?
Three former gang members believe it’s because not enough youth are getting opportunities before they are out of the house. They’re creating an app that they think can help.
“It is kind of a glam world right now. Everything is being glorified like, you got to have the money right now, you got to have the fame and the cars right now,” explains Elijah Edwards, a former gang member himself.
“We know we got a problem. We care. We want to help,” explains Edwards.
Edwards spent years living what he calls a gang lifestyle, being drawn in as a youth.
“It is so many other secret reasons why people do what their doing, on top of the fact that they are coming from a bottom ground feeder place. They are already in a crab in a bucket place,” Edwards explains.
Edwards says that leads teens to join gangs for no other reason than to have a since of belonging. Nnce the violence starts, he says it often becomes about retaliation.
“The only thing they have right now is violence in the radios, and there are not enough people allowed to say, ‘y’all going the wrong way.'” Edwards says. “That is the word of the street.”
It’s because of that Edwards says you have to reach kids early. That’s what these three hope to do with a new networking system called B.U.B.B.L.E.
“Bubble means, believing, urban, betterment, builds, loving environments,” explains Edwards. “This is something from somebody you can’t even see. This is somebody that you wasn’t expecting to say hi. So it brings a different energy to the table,” he says.
It’s a soon to launch app that allows people to text a mass group or a specific person if they see a teen who may be at risk. It’s a start up but they believe eventually it could have a major impact.
“We changed for the better, and I want to help his friends, and I want to help her friends, and she want to help my friends. We want to help each other. That is what Bubble is all about.”
The group hopes to have the app launched in the near future and possibly to have it in the school system.