Mar. 25th: Community Gang Awareness Presentation

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007

“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.”

During last year’s WCHL 1360 [mp3] forum I suggested our community would be better served by allocating our tight police resources more to gang awareness and remediation than parading (or Segwaying) up and down Franklin St.

Sometime soon after thhe Police Department was awarded a $37,482 grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission to address gang activity. The Town matched the grant with an additional $12,494. The funds were to be used “to pay overtime costs for additional patrols in the downtown district and residential neighborhoods that have experienced gang-related activity.” Further, “officers will receive additional training in gang recognition, and will use this knowledge to deliver awareness materials to local schools and community groups.”

When I learned from one of our local law enforcement leaders that the funds didn’t cover all the attendant expenses, I asked one of our elective leaders to look into boosting the fund by $15,000. That didn’t happen but I believe additional funds are forthcoming in this year’s budget (I’ll keep an eye out as the budget develops).

As far as community education, Officer Mitch McKinney, of the CHPD, will present a gang awareness seminar this Mar. 25th.

“Forewarned is forearmed”.

The Town of Chapel Hill, Sunrise Rotary, and the Chapel Hill/Carrboro YMCA are sponsoring a gang information presentation from 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 25, in the auditorium at East Chapel Hill High School.

This presentation will include an informative session on the status of gang activity in our community and will feature prevention strategies for parents and caregivers. The featured presenter is Officer Mitch McKinney of the Chapel Hill Police Department. Officer McKinney has attended extensive training on gang activity and is a popular presenter on the subject.

Representatives from a variety of area youth-services providers will be on hand to answer questions about their programs and to distribute information.

The Community Gang Awareness Presentation is free and everyone is welcome. Light refreshments will be offered.

You can learn more at www.chcymca.org.

For more information contact Officer McKinney at 919-968-2760 or mmckinney@townofchapelhill.org.

Gangs of Chapel Hill

Monday, September 11th, 2006

Last year, unlike most other Council candidates who wanted to reactively deploy our additional police resources downtown in a show of force that was more “feel-good” than strategic, I called for enhancing our forces expertise in “gang management”.

For the last few years, gangs, mostly from outside our community, have been involved in some of the worst incidents our force has faced. While it’s speculated that the recent Avalon shooting might be gang related, we know for sure that the shootings during this years After Chill (after Apple Chill) were associated with gang activity. Developing expertise now would be both tactical and strategic.

Well, earlier this year we put the extra-forces downtown sans gang management support. Troubling.

The good news is that as of today “the Chapel Hill police will focus on developing gang expertise among certain officers.”

Chapel Hill’s Capt. Chris Blue says that while we don’t have an epidemic, just, to-date, a presence, the force will take steps to pro-actively address the gang issue. I met Capt. Blue during this Spring’s WCHL Downtown discussion (where I once again brought up the gang issue) and was impressed by his desire to “work the issue”.

More from today’s N&O.

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