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Vance County Goes On Offensive Against Gang Insurgence

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HENDERSON, N.C. — Most 11 and 12-year-old 5th graders at E.M. Rollins School in Henderson probably know more about gangs than most adults. Street gangs are no longer the strangers in town.

"A lot of the kids have families with brothers and cousins are already in, and some of them, even their mothers and fathers are in the gang," said Henderson Senior Police Officer Angela Finegold.

Rural areas like Henderson are becoming more and more popular with drug dealers. Gang members find more privacy and use open space to their advantage.

"Because with gangs comes drugs and crime," said Diane Barberio with the Clean Up Henderson Committee. "And in a lot of cases, to manufacture drugs they need a little bit of privacy to do their dirty work."

The city is trying to keep gang graffiti off of bridges and buildings in high-traffic areas. Recent gang markings qualified the bridge for a fresh coat of paint.

A movement is under way to rid Henderson of gang activity. Kids are being taught the dangers of drugs as part of the Counter Act program.

"Of course, we want to help them not to join the gangs," said Finegold. "Joining a gang sometimes, it's hard to get out once you join."

On Thursday night, the public will learn how to fight drugs, gangs and win. The two-hour gang awareness seminar will be held in the County Commissioners Room of the Old Vance County Courthouse at 6 p.m.


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