Lakeland, Fla.-(Newsradio 970 WFLA)-Police, community leaders, ministers and regular citizens got together for a prayer vigil in an attempt to stop the city's gang troubles. Lakeland recorded over 20 gang-related shootings last year.

City Commissioner Phillip Walker was among the people showing up at the rally in a vacant parking lot off West Memorial Blvd. Walker admits to the increase in gang violence and is hoping a city gang task force will help.

Lakeland police are getting the word out to teens about the consequences of getting involved in gang activity. The effort is called "Operation Safe Street."

The Rev. Edgar Pickett offered up eulogies at the vigil for five teens killed by gang violence in Lakeland. Pickett says one of the victims was his own cousin.