The stabbing of a Harlingen teen last week is just the latest proof of a spike in gang violence in the past few months, Harlingen Police told Action 4 News. Sgt. Stephen Scott Mayer has lead the Harlingen Police Gang Eradication Unit since it was started two years ago.
He said they are also investigating a possible shooting, Both crimes have not been seen in the city in a few years, but now they are also seeing more fights, as well as graffiti. "What we have going on is one gang feuding with in itself this isn't like rival gang violence on another gang," Sgt. Mayer added. But not everyone is convinced about an increase in gang violence. They're stories of what everybody else hears, Erica Sanchez said. She is an employee at Robert's Ice Cream Parlor and Deli, formerly known as the F Street Dairy Bar.
This Harlingen landmark, which has been around for decades, is now struggling, but not because of gang violence. "There's no violence whatsoever that you have to worry about, she said. That's the reason we're losing business, because a lot of people are starting to believe the stories that are out there." She added that the shooting of a Harlingen cop two years ago was a tragic incident, but since then not much else has happened.
She lives around the area, and assures that it's been very calm. "Anywhere you go, anywhere in the world, you're gonna hear there's violence," she concluded. In the meantime, Sgt. Mayer told Action 4 News they need residents to be their eyes in the community.
They ask them to report any gang activity like violence or graffiti in the city so they can deal with it appropriately.