• 28°

All 3,300 officers in Washington, D.C.’s sworn police force worked overtime last weekend in a blitz to jumpstart the city’s summer crime-fighting program, aimed in part at gangs. They arrested nearly 500 people and soon expect to have 72 surveillance cameras standing watch across the city.
In South Carolina,where at least 340 gangs are in operation, a new law expands the state grand jury’s powers to subpoena and investigate gangs. The law allows officers to seize gang property and creates a statewide database of gang members.
And in municipalities surrounding Atlanta, new street gang ordinances allow police to take minor crimes such as vandalism, disorderly conduct and trespassing to municipal courts for swift, sure punishment ó rather than to the heavily burdened state courts. Victims also could get punitive damages three times the value of their loss if they file a civil suit in municipal court.
“When word gets out that it is something we are not going to tolerate, we hope the gangs move on,” Lawrenceville Mayor Rex Millsaps said.
As Salisbury-Rowan officials and volunteers sift through ideas from last week’s gang summit, it’s important to remember how widespread the gang problem is and how varied the solutions. The community needs to diminish the allure of gangs by giving young people better alternatives, but that’s not the only tactic. A tough stance against gangs themselves and the crimes they commit is essential. If authorities can take a hard line on minor infractions ó and the community will back them up ó young members might drop out of gangs before their crimes get more serious.
In the past 25 years, according to national reports, both the number of cities with reported youth gang problems and the number of gang members have increased nearly sevenfold, while the estimated number of youth gangs has increased more than 10 times. Police say Salisbury has more than 25 gangs, from motorcycle gangs to youth gangs.
The more than 400 people who turned out Thursday night for the Salisbury-Rowan summit showed by their numbers that awareness is up, and so is determination to counteract this corrosive trend. Gangs are not limited to metropolitan areas. They’re everywhere ó small cities, quaint towns and out in rural areas. They’re everyone’s problem.
One study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice, “Youth Gang Problems and Strategies,” concludes that the most effective approach will likely involve prevention, intervention and suppression strategies executed in a collaborative way, supported by shared information, and validated by rigorous evaluation.
Salisbury-Rowan took the first step toward that collaboration by coming together from varied walks of life on Thursday night and sharing perspectives on gang activity. Many more steps and perhaps missteps lie ahead. But eyes are open to the problem and hearts are earnest in wanting to help. That’s a good start.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury high, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week