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Statewide Gang Reduction Summit

December 19th, 2007 by flanews

Felony related gang convictions have nearly doubled in the last two years. That sent Dozens of law enforcement tot he state Capitol today to work on a strategy to deal with Floridas growing gang problem. As Chris Casquejo tells us, police say parents bear some of the responsibility.

Hear it here: Statewide Gang Reduction Summit

Doc Bailey first joined the Crips gang when he was just 11. Now married with kids, Doc wants other to know where he’d be if he were still part of a gang.

Either incarcerated, on the streets looking over my shoulder, if not dead, Bailey said.

For Doc, seeing two friends die in a nightclub shooting was enough.

Statewide, the number of gang-related felony convictions has shot up dramatically. In 2005, the number was 2,700. Last year, it went up to 4,400. Law enforcement leaders know they need to do more than just clean up the graffiti.

They are meeting at the Capitol for a two-day summit hoping to come up with a statewide strategy to fight gangs. Police say parents can look for warning signs.

Major Paul Davis is with the Hillborough County Sheriff’s Department.

Are they wearing the same type, the same kinds of clothes, the same color? Are they all wearing their hat a certain way? Are they getting a tattoo?

Doc Bailey grew up without a father. He believes adults need to keep a close eye on kids like him.

Maybe an uncle. Or a cousin or something thats close to them thats going in a positive direction, he said.

The battle against gangs wont end soon in Florida. Estimates peg the number of gangs in the state at 1,500.

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