In an effort to boost New York State’s anti-gang initiatives and streamline the work currently being done by various state and federal agencies, Assemblyman Frank Skartados (D-Milton) announced that the Assembly passed a piece of legislation he sponsored to create a gang assessment, intervention, prevention and suppression program (A.3834-A).
“Over the past few years, Newburgh has been disproportionately affected by violence perpetrated mostly by gangs,” Assemblyman Skartados said. “I’ve seen families and communities devastated by gun violence and gang activity. We have kids hurting other kids over gang issues and it has to stop. We all need to work together to put an end to the violence.”
Gang activity has played a substantial role in recent violent crimes and Skartados feels this program will help combat gang violence and could be critical in assisting local law enforcement in putting an end to the bloodshed in the area.
The gang assessment, intervention, prevention and suppression program would:
- require the New York State Police Superintendent to work with local and federal law enforcement and district attorneys throughout the state to develop an integrated plan to suppress gang activity;
- create a centralized clearinghouse for all information relating to gangs operating in the state that will serve as a repository for any information obtained by local or state law enforcement entities; and
- authorize the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) commissioner to award district attorneys with grants for programs designed to stop gang activity.
Assemblyman Skartados has been working to bring to an end to gang violence in the Hudson Valley for years. In 2010, he sponsored a similar piece of legislation that passed the Assembly that sought to shut down gangs and prevent new ones from forming (A.11087). He also worked with the FBI asking for the Bureau’s assistance in investigating Newburgh’s spike in gang-related activity and youth violence. Assemblyman Skartados has also sponsored a second bill, this year that will create the Gang Court pilot Program to combat with the rise of gang activity (A.9512). This new program will create two special gang courts with one being located in Orange County.
“I see the effects that gangs and violent crime is having on our inner cities,” Assemblyman Skartados said. “I think we not only need tougher laws, but we also need to address the root problems of this violence. We need to engage our youth and get them working and doing positive activities instead of hanging on the streets with gangs.”