A group called The Rainbow Family is planning a large gathering in the Black Hills that could bring thousands of people to the area. The gathering is set for early July but local law enforcement say they are concerned about increased panhandling and soliciting that may come alongside the event.
Brendyn Medina is the community relations specialist for the Rapid City Police Department. He says the department is preparing for what could be thousands of people in the Black Hills for the Rainbow Gathering.
“We should be expecting more of these people who are in the area in attendance of the event making their way into more populated areas into more populated areas to sustain their way of life. And they do that thru panhandling and solicitation,” says Medina.
Many people refer to the Rainbow Family as hippies. Madina says the department has been in contact with other agencies to develop a plan for Rapid City.
“We’re working on a plan as we speak and we should have some more information out, just some advisories for local business owners, some things that the public can keep in mind when it comes to what to expect in our neck of the woods as this even ramps up,” says Medina.
So far law enforcement have made arrests for felony drug possession, panhandling and public indecency. The Police Department urges people to report suspicious behavior. Officials say The Rainbow Family Gathering could to attract more than four thousand people by July fourth. Multiple attempts to contact organizers of the gathering were not returned in time for this report.