KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY -

Patrol officers with the Kinston Department of Public Safety were up early Saturday morning with members of the community to clean up gang graffiti.

Kinston Department of Public Safety gang unit supervisor Sgt. Stephen Reavis said there are about 25 active gangs in Kinston.

"You know there's a fair amount of graffiti in Kinston and throughout eastern Carolina," Sgt. Reavis said.

He said this is the first time the police department has collaborated with the community to work to remove gang graffiti.

"A huge majority of our shootings and certainly our violent activity is associated with gang activity," Sgt. Reavis said.

Resident and volunteer, Jean Culbreth said she wants to see her community improve. She hopes clearing away this graffiti will make people feel safer.

"You got to have pride in your neighborhood," Culbreth said.

The team tackled about 30 areas in one morning. While this was the gang unit's first community graffiti clean up, Sgt. Reavis said they plan on having more of these events.

Clean up crews covered areas near MLK Jr. Blvd. and East Blount St. Saturday.