Local News

NC Wanted investigates gang violence in the Triangle

Posted August 7, 2008 5:27 p.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2008 8:52 p.m. EDT

— From a melee at Triangle Town Center to a brawl at Red's Beach Club, street gangs have become a hot topic. To investigate, Fox 50's NC Wanted talked to some people who have intimate knowledge of gang activity across the Triangle.

To protect their identities, the people interviewed for the story were given fake names.

"They just want that respect, like, yeah, you know, don't cross my line 'cause you know I'll off you," gang member Allen said.

"Everybody started out selling drugs, thinking it's cool, trying to get them some old schools with the rims, trying to get the money. That's what it's all about," gang member Mario said.

A recent survey estimated there are 14,500 gang members in North Carolina, and projections put numbers at 29,000 to 41,000 within five years. As to whether the tide can be stemmed in the next five years, the gang members we talked to are doubtful.

"I don't think it's solvable. Cause it's been that way too long. People are used to it. People are not going to start banging because people in power tell them to stop banging," gang member Nicole said.

"I would say a percentage of people that's in gangs would be about 75 to 80 percent. Two people out of every 10 dudes, not even that much, would stand up and say 'I ain't in no gang,'" Mario said.

"They ain't any real way you can hide from it. Everybody got somebody that's affiliated. Everybody got somebody in their family that's a gang member, so you affiliated by that," Allen said.

However, at the same time, every person with whom Fox 50 talked with saw a way out of that life of violence.

"I found my way out. My way out was through school. That's the way I see it, it's through school. Yeah, I probably ain't going to lie. If I won't in school, I'd probably be out there with my friends right now either incarcerated, on the block, running from police, driving without a driver's license, stealing somebody's car. I probably wouldn't lie. I probably would, but you know, it's about the love of my mama," Mario said.

"I'm a little scared, but it's exciting because I'm ready to be, be someone successful," Nicole said.

"Bullets don't have no names on them. Fly anywhere and knock somebody out. It's what it is all about in the end. That's why you've got to stay away from it," Allen said.

So what can be done about North Carolina's gang problem? Friday night, you will hear some of what NC Wanted discovered from adults working on the front-lines, in our areas toughest gang neighborhoods.

Then watch “NC Wanted: Growing up Hard” this Saturday night, after the 10 p.m. news on Fox 50.