Friday, September 17, 2010
Over the last two days some 500 law enforcement officials and community leaders have gathered in Cranberry to talk about stamping out gang violence in Western Pennsylvania. The US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania called the meeting. It is the 5th annual gathering on the subject organized by the office. US Attorney David Hickton says, “this is a battle we must win. The stakes are too high.” Hickton says the meeting is not just a sharing of best practices among the groups involved. He says it is a chance to educate people about the gang problems all communities face. “It is a rural issue as well as an urban issue,” says Hickton. Along with talking about the more well known gangs such as the Crips and Bloods, the summit will also be dealing with Skinheads and neo-Nazis. Hickton says law enforcement can only go so far in combating the problem. He says community groups need to make sure kids have programs to turn to help keep them out of a life of crime. “We need to replace despair and hopelessness with hope and opportunity,” says Hickton. He says there are programs out there to make sure “our children have the choice to take the right path.” Hickton says they have made great strides in combating gang activity in the last 5 years, especially on the Northside.