Raleigh Police Concerned About Rise In Gang Violence
Raleigh police say gang activity is on the rise, with officials counting 1,500 known gang members on the streets. Police officials met with community members Wednesday night to discuss what's being done to turn around those numbers.
Quinton McCoy and Shakim Applewhite live in a neighborhood where the color you wear says a lot.
"I wear a white flag, because it stands for neutral," McCoy said.
The 16-year-olds said there's a lot of gang activity in their south Raleigh neighborhood. They say gang members wear red or blue depending on which gang they belong to.
"You've got to be cautious of what colors you wear, because if you go in the wrong neighborhood wearing certain color, you can get seriously shot up because of a 99-cent bandana," McCoy said.
Just a few houses up from where the two teenagers live, a makeshift memorial has been set up for Shamonte Pair. He was found dead there on Friday, just one day before his 22nd birthday. Raleigh police said he was the victim of a gang-involved murder.
Back in June, an 18-year-old was killed in a drive-by shooting around the corner on Beauty Avenue.
"You've got a lot of people that's dying over stupid stuff, and I just think it's sad," said Applewhite, shaking her head.
The deaths are part the reason community leaders met Wednesday to talk about gang activity. For the first time, police gave a breakdown of the gangs in the Raleigh area, counting 1,500 known gang members on the streets.
"It's a big concern. No one wants gang activity in their neighborhood. It's something you hear about. You just hope it doesn't infiltrate into your community," said Chris Bradley, a member of a local citizen advisory council.
Raleigh police explained what they were doing to create a gang-free Raleigh and shared potential warning signs for gang activity.
McCoy and Applewhite said the officers won't have to look very far to find those signs.
"We hear everything that is going on everyday. We live it," said Applewhite.
The county has come up with a plan to prevent kids from getting involved in gangs and violence in the county. Unlike other areas in the county, police say the kids here join gangs at a very young age -- many at the ages of 15 and 16.
Wake County has set up a gang prevention hotline at 919-256-0919 for residents to call, as well as a graffiti hotline at 919-831-6001.