Cuccinelli Leads Anti-Gang Workshop in Weyers Cave
Virginia's top prosecutor is claiming some key victories in the war on criminal street gangs. But during a daylong workshop in Augusta County Wednesday, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said those efforts must be a continual battle.
Cuccinelli says gangs remain Virginia's number one violent crime problem. But he says many of those groups have changed their tactics, so prevention and prosecution must too.
Cuccinelli helped lead a gathering of police and sheriff's deputies, school officials and youth advocates. The regional meeting in Weyers Cave offered the trends and strategies in the fight against gang-related crime.
The attorney general says it's vital to prevent gangs from recruiting new members, and show children and teens how to turn away from them.
"We have brought more and more team members, be it other law enforcement, educators, parents, community groups on board," Cuccinelli said. "Virginia's more and more unified, and people are more and more bought in to the team effort trying to attack this problem and keep our kids safe."
The workshop including the screening of a DVD that showed new gang-recruiting trends, like the use of social media, and the targeting of younger and younger children – now at an average age of 12.
Some of the successes in recent years have come from a special prosecutor and multijurisdictional grand jury. Together they've brought indictments and arrests against dozens of suspected gang members in the valley.
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