Cranston steps up effort to address gang violence

The Providence Journal

The Providence Journal

07:36 AM EDT on Monday, July 27, 2009
By W. Zachary Malinowski
Journal Staff Writer

CRANSTON — The ongoing battles between violent street gangs such as the Young Bloods, Hanover Boyz, Asian Outlaw Boyz, MS-13 and Providence Street Boys know no boundaries.

It’s no secret that most of the state’s 1,400 gang members are scattered across several Providence neighborhoods in the West End, Smith Hill and South Side, but there is a growing number of them living in Woonsocket, Pawtucket, Central Falls and Cranston.

More gang members mean more problems. And Cranston has had more than its share in recent months.

Mayor Allan W. Fung and his newly appointed police chief, Col. Marco Palombo Jr., acknowledge there are about 100 gang members in their city of 80,000 that borders the West End and South Side of Providence. Last week, they vowed to aggressively address the escalating problem.

“I want to make sure that there is not an explosion of this issue in our city,” said Fung, a former assistant state attorney general who prosecuted youth crime and gang members. “We are trying to stay on top of it.”

Palombo has assigned a detective, Warren Henseler, to exclusively deal with gang violence and he is considering having another officer work alongside him.

“There have been drive-by shootings, shootings, threats and intimidation.”

Much of the violence is concentrated in the city’s Arlington neighborhood, which is less than a mile from the home of established Providence gangs like the Young Bloods and Hanover Boyz on Hanover Street, Althea Street, Linwood and Potters avenues in the West End.

The police said that most of the known gang members are found in Arlington, but others live in the Auburn and Edgewood neighborhoods. Meanwhile, violence sometimes breaks out at different venues in Cranston, such as the AMF Cranston Lanes on Elmwood Avenue, where gang members bowl and hang out.

Two years ago, Kasean Benton, 19, of Providence’s Elmwood section, who was slain July 12 in South Providence in a gang-related feud, was stabbed at the bowling alley, the police said.

Since Jan. 1, Providence has had one homicide and 13 people wounded in gang-related shootings, while, in Cranston, 4 people have been shot through gang warfare.

The highest profile shooting in Cranston took place at midday on May 19 at New England Sports Barber Shop on Cranston Street, just a stone’s throw from the Cranston police station and the Providence border. The police said a gunman fired 12 shots and struck a customer and Wilder “Waldo” Flores, a barber and former member of the Original Crip Gang. Investigators suspect that the MS-13 gang is responsible for the shooting, although no one has been arrested.

Other notable shootings or incidents involving guns in Cranston:

•July 11: At 2:44 a.m., a silver minivan pulled up and someone opened fire on 20 members of the Hanover Boyz and Providence Street Boys outside the 7-Eleven convenience store at 535 Reservoir Ave. None of the shots struck anyone. The police said they suspect the shooters were members of the Young Bloods or Oriental Rascals. Earlier in the night, several Providence Street Boys got into a dispute with some Oriental Rascals at a Providence nightclub.

•May 27: An 18-year-old member of the Asian Outlaw Boyz was shot off Webster Avenue. Two juveniles, who are members of the Dark Side Rascals, were arrested and charged.

•March 20: The home of one of the Hanover Boyz on Bailey Street was sprayed with gunfire at 12:37 a.m. No one was wounded, but five shell casings were found in the neighborhood. The police are certain the shooter was a member of the Young Bloods, but they have yet to charge anyone.

•Jan. 21: A 17-year-old who lives on Stayton Street and hangs out with members of the Manton Posse in Providence was arrested for having three guns in his possession.

•Jan. 10: A 15-year-old boy linked to the Members of Pine, also known as M.O.P., was shot in the leg during an exchange of gunfire between members of M.O.P. and C-Block near 432 Union Ave. The neighborhood straddles Cranston and the Silver Lake section of Providence.

Recently, Fung and Palombo have met with Teny O. Gross, executive director of The Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence, the Providence nonprofit that combats youth violence and gang activity. Fung said the city has applied for a $40,000 federal grant that would cover the cost of having one of the institute’s street workers assigned to Cranston.

The street workers, most of whom are ex-gang members with criminal records, work to settle disputes and try to convince young people that gang life is no life.

Gross commended Fung and Palombo for taking a hands-on approach instead of blaming Providence for their problems.

“I think it’s a healthy attitude,” he said. “Things don’t stop because there is a border on the map. It makes no sense to us for them to put their heads in the sand.”

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13 Comments for “Cranston steps up effort to address gang violence”

  1. dark side gangsta crips was hea 4.19

  2. AsiAn BoyZ

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  3. NightMear401

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  5. your lil homie aka D

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  6. kiddmatt


  7. Clowning

    Here we go all the keyboard tough guys repping they hood, can’t scrap for nothing and want to join a gang to be cool. It’s the 21st century if you still repping a GANG go ki*ls yourself. ????????????????

  8. Clowning

    Here we go all the keyboard tough guys repping they hood, can’t scrap for nothing and want to join a gang to be cool. It’s the 21st century if you still repping a GANG go ki*ls yourself. ????????????????

  9. Clowning

    Here we go all the keyboard tough guys repping they hood, can’t scrap for nothing and want to join a gang to be cool. It’s the 21st century if you still repping a GANG go ki*ls yourself. ????????????????

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