Statewide database could track gangs
1/3/2006 11:15 PM
By: Adam Shub, News 14 Carolina
Officials are working on a database that would help police departments across North Carolina.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The key to gang prevention might be a statewide database.
Law enforcement agencies say it’s hard to keep track of gangs as their criminal influence spreads to other jurisdictions.
"A lot of times, we don't know who they are,” said Chief Darrel Stephens of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
That could change soon, though. The State Bureau of Investigation is linking the CMPD’s local database with the database of Durham’s police department.
On behalf of the federal government, U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes presented a $150,000 check to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department's Gang of One program.
"By the middle of this year, we should have all the details worked out and it will begin to function as more of a statewide operation,” Stephens said Tuesday.
The CMPD has already devoted $100,000 to the project. When it is done, any police agency will be able to tap into the database and learn more about gang-related activity within North Carolina.
"Right now, gangs are everywhere in North Carolina,” Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory said. “Even in the smallest rural towns, they're having gang issues.”
Police estimate that there are 65 gangs in Charlotte today. In 1999, there were 15.
Police Chief Darrel Stephens said uptown Charlotte had a strong gang presence on New Year's Eve.
Stephens said gangs were partly to blame for more than 40 arrests on New Year’s Eve. He said the uptown crowd had a strong gang presence.
"Some of them were flashing gang signs back and forth at each other, and there were quite a number of fights -- more fights than anybody felt comfortable with,” he said.
On behalf of the federal government, U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes presented the CMPD’s Gang of One program with a $150,000 check Tuesday.
The program is designed to keep young people out of gangs and dangerous situations.
Police said the money will help in the short term, providing new equipment and possibly more manpower.
http://www.news14charlotte.com/content/ ... rID=110264