Youth gangs on the rise - My9 New Jersey

Youth gangs on the rise

Posted: Updated:
125th St. and Old Broadway, Harlem. Photo by Lisa Evers 125th St. and Old Broadway, Harlem. Photo by Lisa Evers
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

New York City Police are increasingly turning to Facebook in the battle against gang violence.

Police say 320 youth gangs are operating citywide and are to blame for 40-percent of the city's shootings.

Some gangs have members as young as six-years-old.

500 officers recently swarmed two Harlem housing projects, arresting dozens of young men allegedly involved in shooting, stabbings, robberies, and more.

"No one in this city should hear gunshots or be afraid to have their child go to school or have their parents go to the grocery store,” says Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.

40% of the shootings in America’s biggest city are blamed on gangs or “youth crews” with members as young as 14, often battling over turf. The crews are street smart, but cops say dumb enough to post threats and boast of shooting on Facebook and other social media.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton says, "Make no mistake about it, the motivation here oftentimes is not about drugs. It's just violence for violence's sake."

Community activists say poverty is to blame.

"When people have less, they try to make the best with the less that that have sometimes the less is their block,” said Vernon Williams, a former gang member and ex-con. “ If I have nothing else, I got the love for my block and I want to look good and I want to be safe and I want to eat. And sometimes that translates into violence."

Rev. Vernon Williams is working to convince teens to find a better path and says crews are now actively recruiting little kids to join the ranks.

"I have known them to be as young as six,” said Williams. “No brag. Just fact. I have known them to be as young as six."

Activist Iesha Sekou is working with at-risk teens in some of the city’s roughest neighborhoods.

“We have to be careful and not criminalize our young people and not criminalize their parents and look towards changing language, helping to change some of the behavior and the things they see,” says Sekou. “If this is what they're surrounded with, this is what they will become.”

And there are fears that violence could escalate in the summer months.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Friday Night Live: August 22, 2014

    Friday Night Live: August 22, 2014

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:34 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:34:20 GMT
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this episode: Ace Frehley, Big Sean, Week End Trends, and Chef Luca Manfé of MasterChef.
    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this episode: Ace Frehley, Big Sean, Week End Trends, and Chef Luca Manfé of MasterChef.
  • Berg'n: new beer and food hall in Brooklyn

    Berg'n: new beer and food hall in Brooklyn

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:00:35 GMT
    The guys behind the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are at it again with a new food and booze venue called Berg'n, a new beer hall in Crown Heights. The place doesn't officially open until August 27, 2014, but owners Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler are giving it a test run for special guests, family, and the press.
    The guys behind the Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg are at it again with a new food and booze venue called Berg'n, a new beer hall in Crown Heights. The place doesn't officially open until August 27, 2014, but owners Eric Demby and Jonathan Butler are giving it a test run for special guests, family, and the press.
  • Giving your college-bound kids their space

    Giving your college-bound kids their space

    Friday, August 22 2014 9:31 PM EDT2014-08-23 01:31:50 GMT
    Going off to college is an exciting time for the entire family, especially for the upcoming freshman. But with technology, parents can be in touch all the time. What's too much and what's just enough? Freshman move-in day seems to be harder on the parents than the students at Stony Brook University.
    Going off to college is an exciting time for the entire family, especially for the upcoming freshman. But with technology, parents can be in touch all the time. What's too much and what's just enough? Freshman move-in day seems to be harder on the parents than the students at Stony Brook University.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices