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Gang intervention tackles crime

March 22, 2011

Area law enforcement agencies attempted to prevent more gang violence in Catawba County with an intervention program for known offenders.

Police officers from every agency in the county attended the first gang call-in March 3 in Hickory City Council Chambers. The call-in is part of the Catawba County Gang Initiative, funded through the N.C. Governor's Crime Commission.

"The people at the call-in are people who are headed in the wrong direction and have been known to participate in gang activity," said Conover Police Chief Steve Brewer.

Law enforcement agencies and representatives from community organizations attend the call-in to talk with alleged gang members about their options beyond gang involvement. About 15 candidates arrived at the call-in, where law enforcement officers told them they needed to get on the right path or face lengthy jail time.

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said gang violence and drug activity are often related, and targeting known gang members helps clear the streets of other crime, too.

"If you've got one drug dealer out there, you've got too many," Reid said.

Officers planned for the first call-in for about 18 months. They compiled information about known offenders and told the offenders to come to the call-in. Brewer said because many of the offenders are on probation, they were required to attend the event or be in violation of their probation.

Officials at the call-in provided opportunities for housing, employment skills, counseling, continuing education and spiritual guidance.

Brewer said five of the candidates attending the call-in requested information about programs to help them turn their lives around. An additional two people requested resource forms in several days after the call-in.

"I think it did go well," said Newton Police Chief Don Brown. "We had a lot of folks at the table, as far as law enforcement officers."

To date, two of the seven candidates who requested resource forms started interviews for programs to help improve their lives.

"They're pretty much told it's a new way of doing business in Catawba County," Brewer said. "We know who they are, and if their violence continues, we will take them down."

The March 3 was the first call-in for the program, and officers said they hope to have more in the future.

"Time will tell how successful it will be, but I think we really got some folks' attention," Brown said.

The Catawba County Gang Initiative is based on the High Point Police Department's Intervention Model, which reduced crime significantly in the area since the program's implementation.


Tackle Crime....

March 23, 2011 by Backbone (not verified), 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 267

...the best way to "tackle crime" is to TACKLE CRIMINALS!

Rmember when cops were big stout tough guys and none of these punks would dare cross 'em for fear of getting "a can opened on 'em!"

I am not in the least concerned about my civil rights and I dont care if a few noses get bloodied, just get these jerks locked up and get the streets cleaned up! Donnie, you are a good man, dont succumb to the bleedin' hearts, let your boys get the scum "policed up!"

Enforce the laws we already have

March 23, 2011 by johnplatinum, 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 266

It is admirable that the police are trying to be proactive but here is a suggestion. Since all of these people are targeted as potential gang members and since they are already on probation for various crimes then why are they out on the streets in the firt place? Why hasn't our justice system already "taken them down?"
We have so many programs and special courts now, if we just enforced the laws that we already have and punish violent criminals with active sentences the first time they are convicted then that would be the greatest deterrent of all. Right now all of our criminals know that they can get caught at least 3 or 4 times before they actually have to do any real jail time. These guys can't get decent jobs once they have an arrest record and they feel that a life of crime is worth the risk if they believe they will continually keep getting probation if they are caught commiting crime. Activley enforce the laws we already have in place.

Must be a good smoke you got going there

March 23, 2011 by Seymore Beaver (not verified), 4 years 9 weeks ago
Comment: 268

If you think these guys have resigned their fate to a life of crime because they cannot get hired by Walmart because of a criminal hsitory you are smoking something might fine.

They have no work ethic from the start. It was never ingrained in their heads from their family. It wasn't taught at school because they were too busy participating in weddings of various letters, and they didn't learn it at church for some strange reason.

They are criminals because they have chose to be, one screw up leads to other screw ups. Same with credit scores. Mess up once and you are stuck.

Our criminals have figured out that they won't go to jail for the majority of crimes because of a weak prosecution aspect of the system. Probation and Parole is a joke by design although the folks who work their do care but are completely overloaded.

As for gangs.... I think community policing. having an officer in the neighborhood is intimidation enough. We don't need to take officers off the road to have them try and blend with the gangs. Strike fear in them and watch them like a hawk. They will move on elsewhere or give up.

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