NEW HANOVER COUNTY -- There are 400 gangs with more than 5,000 members in North Carolina. That's according to the state's Gangnet database. New Hanover County law enforcement agencies are working towards tackling the issue locally. The Wilmington Police Department and the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office are applying together for a grant to help fight gang violence. The state has nearly $5 million to offer to law enforcement agencies to be used for more manpower, prevention programs and other ways to tackle street violence. New Hanover County is in the running for some of the money because of a high level of youth and gang violence. Officials from both agencies agree youth violence must be addressed in our area. This grant would be a big help. New Hanover County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Ed McMahon said, "The more we can do to educate the children and teach then better ways and different ways. We can stop them while they're young before they come into contact with these things." Wilmington Police Deputy Chief David Conklin said, "We're extremely successful as far as working on a lot of suppression and we're also extremely impressed with what they're doing on the intervention side." Conklin says the two agencies' strengths would compliment each other. The application process is still in the very early stages, but Deputy Chief Conklin says he's confident about receiving money.
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