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House subcommittee hears testimony on gang prevention

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RALEIGH (AP) -- A House judiciary subcommittee heard testimony today on proposed legislation that would create new crimes and longer sentences for people who participate in or encourage gang activity.

The proposal also would add ten more years to the crimes of a person who organizes or leads a gang. The bill would set aside $10 million for gang prevention and intervention programs.

The panel heard from New Bern Police Chief Frank Colombo, who says many gang members are simply career criminals who need to be incarcerated for longer periods of time.

Stormy Ellis, an assistant Durham County district attorney, suggested that lawmakers create a racketeering statute that would allow police officers more flexibility in helping prosecutors make cases against entire gangs.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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