The Dallas Police Department says social media may be fueling gang activity on the streets.
Interim Police Chief David Pughes says drive-by shootings are up nearly 150% compared to this time last year. The chief says he's concerned about the spike in numbers and now actively devising a plan to combat it.
The President of the Dolphin Heights Neighborhood Association Anna Hill shared a recent encounter with an alleged drug dealer with us.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"I say good morning, I know you're selling drugs could you take them somewhere else?" said Hill.
Hill says it's a conversation she's had with people in her neighborhood for decades.
"It's heart breaking and I approached a couple of young men and I got the calling, the name calling of my life that I didn't know what I was talking about and they were doing it because they wanted to and that's the way it was going to be," she said.
Hill works closely with Dallas police who are now combating gangs reportedly facing off on social media.
Interim Chief David Pughes addressed the problem during a public safety meeting this week and said as a result of the social media fighting, drive-by shootings have spiked considerably.
"There's sort of a gang-war that takes place on social media where one gang is challenging another that ultimately ends up in a drive-by shooting at one the places," he said.
"A lot of guys get with gangs they're looking for a family, you know moms not at home, moms teaching them the wrong thing," Quincy Guinyard, who now is a youth outreach counselor in South Dallas but says he spent years associated with a gang and is now witness to how dangerous social media wars have become.
"I'm scared for my daughters, I have daughters that live over here I don't want them to get shot by being an innocent bystander, I want my kids to be able to walk around South Dallas," Guinyard said.
"You can't just sit on your front porch and stay inside and say okay I didn't see that, " said Hill. "If you don't say anything, it gets worse, and if you don't report it to police they don't know," she said.
Dallas Mayor Michael Rawlings issued the following statement to NBC 5:
“As I noted in my annual GrowSouth presentation last night, violent crime is a concern and DPD has committed to doing several things to combat the uptick in aggravated assaults. That includes training more gang liaison officers for each substation, monitoring social media to offset these activities and utilizing our fugitive unit to better track and arrest offenders with active warrants. We also cannot rely exclusively on police officers to solve these problems. As we enter the summer months, it’s important to remember that young people in our city need more job opportunities and recreational activities.”