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Wake County Leaders, Citizens Address Gang Problem

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WAKE FOREST, N.C. — Wake County has a gang problem, according to county and state leaders.

The latest survey of law enforcement officials conducted by the Governor's Crime Commission revealed that Wake County has 1,753 gang members, which is the highest in North Carolina. Mecklenburg County has 1,739, and Durham County 1,620.

The survey also showed that there were about 5,000 gang members in the state in 1999. That number doubled last year.

"It's coming. It's getting bigger by the day, becoming more of an issue by the day in Wake County," said Gibbie Harris, community health director of Wake County.

That's why on Saturday the Wake County Gang Prevention Partnership, which is part of Wake County Human Services, held a forum at the DuBois Center in Wake Forest to discuss ways to reduce the prevalence of gangs in Wake communities.

Harris said such community meetings will help county leaders develop a plan for gang prevention and intervention.

Wake Forest resident Barbara Hall-Taylor said she attended the round-table discussion, which gave citizens a chance to voice their concerns and to learn about gang activities, because she wants to protect her 12-year-old great-grandson.

"We have a few boys and young men walking up and down the street in these black outfits. And my great-grandson told me, 'Grandmama, Don't talk to them. They're gang members,'" Hall-Taylor said.

Wake County will hold two public forums on gangs in November. One will be held Nov. 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the

Wake Commons Building

in Raleigh, and the other one will be on Nov. 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the

Fuquay-Varina United Methodist Church

in Fuquay-Varina.

For more information, please call the Wake County Gang Prevention Hotline at




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