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Recreation centers seen as lure for Chattanooga gang members

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CHATTANOOGA, TN. (Times Free Press) -- Jacqueline Dowell has lived in Washington Hills for 48 years and what she sees at the neighborhood's recreation center worries her.

She sees older groups of boys in their late teens and early 20s sometimes loitering in the parking lot or nearby, hanging out with younger boys. The older ones may be gang members, trying to lure the young ones into the lifestyle, she said.

"I've been fussing about that for years," she said. "They come and hang out. They need to ID every one of the children coming out to the rec centers. ... That's the first step to cleaning these places out."

The city's recreation centers may be acting as recruitment centers for local gang members, according to some concerned residents who participated Wednesday in a discussion hosted by the city's Neighborhood Services and Community Development Department.

Read more on the story from our news partners at the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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