Metro Omaha has seen several robberies and increased gun violence recently, including seven shootings last weekend, and that has many asking how to stop the violence.
One neighborhood association is hoping to make a difference.
Gerard Pefung's preferred medium is spray paint, and his art is all about making connections.
"I think, like a lot of people, we do a lot of things because we want to belong to something," he said.
Pefung and Oscar Duran belong to the Deer Park Neighborhood Association in South Omaha.
"The Deer Park Neighborhood is one of the hardest impacted by graffiti in all of Omaha," Duran said "I think anyone would tell you that."
But as many artists would say, it's all about perspective. The concrete barriers in the parking lot of the Bancroft Street Market will become canvases for kids and young adults. The canvases are intended to build connections with positive people like Pefung.
"And then, once they get to know me, I'm in a better position to say, 'Hey, you got to try this,'" he said.
Duran said finding alternatives to crime within the community is the first step to a safe home base.
"You know, I've had neighbors approach me and say how are going to get these people out of the neighborhood," Duran said. "I'm just saying, let's just find out why they've got the guns in the first place."
Duran said starting a conversation with a can of paint doesn't just cover the crime problem; it's a good start toward solving it.
"To see these kids in action is just so amazing, and now the kids have a medium to show what they're uniquely skilled with within their community, and that is a great way to reach anybody," he said.
The Deer Park Neighborhood is partnering with Habitat for Humanity for Saturday’s graffiti art event, which will be from noon to 3 p.m. in the Bancroft Street Market parking lot. The winner will receive a $300 prize.