March 13, 2008

Well the news is now reporting that this murder was not gang related: "I don't give any credit to any gangs at this point in time. I believe they are two young men who were involved in some robberies and homicides, and they have been charged as such."

But of course. This area is desperate to appear un-gangish. Then the news went on to tell us:

"Durham has a major gang problem, according to a recent report. More than a quarter of juveniles adjudicated for crimes in the city were identified as gang members, which is three times the statewide rate, the report said. Arnold Dennis, director of the Juvenile Justice Center at North Carolina Central University, said criminal elements among young people in Durham stem from a broken social system where there's a significant divide between the wealthy and the poor. "We haven't been able to connect in a substantial way with these folks who really need to be brought into the mainstream in terms of employment," Dennis said. The Durham Police Department has one of the largest anti-gang units in North Carolina, but its efforts aren't well coordinated, according to the recent study, which was funded by the department and the Durham County Sheriff's Office. Schools and other agencies often ignore the gang problem, the study found. The study's report recommended the following steps to combat the gang problem:
**Prioritize gang cases in the courts to resolve them more quickly.
**Restructure the police gang unit to focus on improved intelligence and fast prosecutions.
**Coordinate local services for troubled youths.
**Enforce truancy sanctions and limit school expulsions to the most serious infractions.
**Expand positive-behavior programs in schools.
Dennis said fixing the problem will take more than government intervention. "It's a community problem, not a family problem," he said. "Stop pointing fingers ... Either we're going solve it, or we're going to constantly lock kids up."

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