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Feds hope tougher sentences will curb gang activity

Posted August 5, 2008

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— Federal authorities say they hope tougher sentences on known gang members will help curb gang activity.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Goulian says federal charges carry more prison time and that increased penalties can help get to the root of the gang problem.

"It makes the defendant much more likely to cooperate, because ultimately, what we are looking for is information about who the other gang members are and the structure and organizations of the gang," Goulian said.

This week, for example, the U.S. Attorney General's Office announced the convictions of several confirmed Raleigh gang members and associates on federal firearms and drug charges – some who face prison sentences up to 22 years.

"Any additional help we can get as to what the gangs are involved in, and who the players are is a definite asset to us all," said Lt. A.D. Nichol with the Raleigh Police Department's Gang Suppression Unit.

In recent weeks, a melee at Raleigh's Triangle Town Center mall and a shooting on the campus of North Carolina State University, have highlighted the Capital City's growing gang problem, which police Chief Harry Dolan described as "significant."

Nichol says the federal partnership also helps keep repeat offenders of violent crimes off the streets.

"With their enhanced sentencing, they're a major part in the fight against gang violence that we have here in the city," he said.

"We are definitely making more than just a dent, we are taking some serious offenders off the streets, but the problem is still getting worse," Goulian said.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice's Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative also awarded Wake and Durham counties a $2.5 million grant for gang prevention, law enforcement and community action.

Enacted in 2006, the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative, is already in place in six other sites across the nation and has already made strides in those cities, the justice department said.

For example, in Cleveland, one of the most violent gangs operating in the area has been dismantled and prosecutions have resulted in 168 federal and state convictions.

By 2007, homicides were down by approximately 39 percent and violent crimes were down approximately 15 percent.

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  • babyblue2 Aug 6, 2008

    amen and ditto colliedave, tiredofexcuses and whatusay !!

    good idea supes.....why not bring our military forces home to guard OUR US borders and send these convicted gang members to iraq and afgahnistan to do the dirty work.....indefinitely. now that's putting our tax dollars to work.

  • TheAdmiral Aug 6, 2008

    Good luck with that idea.

  • teacher-mom Aug 6, 2008

    There was a program about this recently. I think it was on MSN. The gang issue is getting very bad in prisons everywhere. They do seem to have a firm grip on it. They use everything to fight this problem. I think it is good that they offer some protection of the inmates. It is a shame that it has come to this. There should be a zero gang policy in America. There probably is.

  • chfdcpt Aug 6, 2008

    What a concept, enforcing the laws that we have!!! But seriously, this is a great start. We need to follow thru with the Project Exile that they had in Richmond some years ago. When they are convicted on federal charges, they are sent to a super-max, where you are in a cell by yourself for 23 hours a day. The only time not inside the cell is for your fitness/recreation/gym activity. However, they have no contact with any other inmates.

  • whatusay Aug 6, 2008

    Eliminate welfare and gangs will be gone in one generation. Only way. Paying women to have fatherless children creates gangs.

  • Dark of the Moon Aug 5, 2008

    The best way to avoid gang activity is to live in the great town of Cary, where we actually deal with issues before they become uncontrollable. Hopefully Raleigh can eventually turn their city around.

  • d1_standing Aug 5, 2008

    What a way to curb gang activity!!

  • supes Aug 5, 2008

    Gang members don't care about prison. They end up having more status when they're behind bars than they do on the streets. Can't we send them to do a cave by cave search in Afghanistan or something instead?

  • Tired Of Excuses Aug 5, 2008

    The Feds hope that tougher sentences will curb gang activity.
    LOL...ok, whatever. Send them to jail so they can participate in gang activity while in prison while getting three squares a day at the tax payers expense.

  • colliedave Aug 5, 2008

    We are definitely making more than just a dent, we are taking some serious offenders off the streets, but the problem is still getting worse," Goulian said

    When a prison sentence is a "badge of honor" in the gang-banger culture prison time, in itself, will do nothing to curb the violence. When the gang-bangers are recruiting kids at the elementary level we have a problem.

    It isn't PC, but we have an epidemic of fatherless children. We have removed discipline from the schools. We have removed corporal punishment to make children understand there are severe consequences for bad behavior. We have a culture that glorifies the 'hood life. We are reaping the results of forty plus years of a social policy which proves the government can do nothing to affect the character of man.

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