Thursday, November 9, 2006
From charlotte.com: Police have documented more than 1,600 gang members and 115 different gangs in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Police also said they have documented gang members in Charlotte as young as 7 years old.
The number of crimes attributed to gangs is on the rise, Fran Cook, head of Gang of One, the police department's anti-gang program, told parents and community activists during a community workshop last week.
Kids are also getting into gangs at a much younger age, often during middle-school years. It's not that they're looking to commit crimes, police officers and youth workers say. Many of them are isolated, either by poverty, by language or by neglect, and are looking for somewhere to belong.
Police Chief Darrel Stephens explained it this way in an interview last year. "The breeding ground for gangs is non-supervised out-of-school time," he told a reporter, and many young people at risk of gang involvement are simply "looking for companionship and substitutes for engaged parents."
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]