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NC lawmakers trying to crack down on growing gang presence

READ MORE: NC lawmakers trying to crack down on growing gang presence
State lawmakers want to crack down on North Carolina's growing gang presence. New laws are now making their way through the state legislature. Officials estimate there are 15,000 gang members in North Carolina. The Tarheel State is one of few that do not have laws specifically addressing gang activity. Now lawmakers are hoping to change that. Asheville police were called to the scene of a 12-year-old boy who had been shot in the head. Six people were shot in a Chapel Hill nightclub. And two Whiteville high school teenagers were arrested for the shooting death of Darnell Frink outside a Columbus County gas station. -- Three gang-related incidents within days of each other across North Carolina. Now, anti-gang legislation aims to create additional offenses, penalties, and procedures for tackling North Carolina's street gang problem. Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo joined mayors and law enforcement officials from around the state in Raleigh Wednesday to show support for the legislation. "We had a killing here last year of a young man that was trying to disengage himself from the gang and was killed because of that," said Saffo. The street gang prevention act would increase penalties for gang members charged with crimes. Crimes that are now only misdemeanors would become felonies. The act would also make recruiting youths into gangs a crime itself. What will the legislation accomplish? "Particularly, three things -- Identifying what a gang is, going after people who recruit young people into gangs, and going after those people who intimidate people that want to try to get out of gangs," said Saffo. The bill would also give counties money for after-school and gang-prevention programs. The bill is now awaiting approval in the house.

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But for the grace of God.....

Why is it just now being acted on? It pains me to see any life wasted senselessly. Politicians go to sleep safe at night and have such "luxury problems." Will the BMW have a scratch on it, or maybe a flat tire? While there's a mother out there wondering why her baby was taken away from her, shot by a gang member. Do they even care that they are trusted with making the decisions that may save a life? Who knows. I do believe that by not taking action sooner and always procrastinating gives us our answer.

About time

It's about time.....there should have been laws in effect for several years now. Why must we always wait until their is a problem before we start to act? I just hope they don't spend too much money on these after school programs...that would be a waste

Afterschool programs "a waste?"

For Wilm Man How is an afterschool program a "waste"?

I would have to see some

I would have to see some stats on how well those programs work to see if they are worth my tax money. What makes you think these kids will go to these programs. I see several kids that aren't the ones that need it taking advantage of these programs. Also, like another poster stated, my money should not go towards day care for someone else. If you can't control your child or have enough money to pay for some sort of after school program then you shouldn't have children.

afterschool program

It's called parental responsibility. It's not my job to provide free day care for someone's child. People need to evaluate circumstances before having children. Will it be a two parent household? Marriage? Or the inconvenient truth that babies having babies is the problem. It's not the job of the state to provide daycare for a child. Parenting is the answer, or a voluntary fund so people who want to pay for someone else's child's after school daycare can, without burdening me with another TAX. And that's what it is.