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Officer says parents can help fight gangs

POSTED: July 21, 2007 5:03 a.m.
Hinesville Police Officer Joseph Madison discussed the problems of gangs along with other local issues during a ride along on Friday night.
To combat the number of gangs and gang members, Madison pointed less toward the schools and more toward how parents and lawmakers need to take on a larger role in children’s lives.
There are a lot of misguided kids who are being recruited to gangs at younger ages, and Madison said the parents have to get through the denial, and realize their kid could be associating with dangerously influential criminal groups.
“Kids don’t have (any) fear because the laws are too lenient, and that’s part of the reason why gangs have been able to thrive,” he said.
Madison criticized the juvenile point system, and said changes need to occur.
Every time a juvenile commits a crime, he receives a certain number of points, and if they accrue too many points (due to multiple offenses), the juvenile is sent to the Claxton Juvenile Detention Center, he said.
Besides just repeatedly reprimanding kids for petty and sometimes more serious crimes, the system needs to immediately shock these children, and send them to Claxton to help deter their negative behavior, Madison added.
The HPD and its crime suppression unit also have to battle with the technological advances of gangs and criminals, he said. Drug dealers can orchestrate drug deals or warn their cohorts of an impending police presence with cell phones, and they can also pander to children or young adults on the Internet by inviting them to parties where they can meet gang members and do drugs.
Madison said the crime suppression unit has done a good job on removing some criminals from the streets since the unit has made almost 200 arrests since their inception last year.
The CSU conducts stakeouts, identifies possible perpetrators and they aid in the apprehension of suspects and criminals, he added.
With the heavy traffic in town, he said Frank Cochran needs to open to take some of the pressure off Deal Street, but he agreed with the city council and was happy that the red light cameras were rejected.
“In Germany, the camera takes a picture of the driver, and the license plate, which allows the owner of the car to defend themselves if they weren’t driving their cars,” he said. “As I understood, the cameras in Hinesville would only take a photo of the license plate and ticket the owner of the car, and I think that would have created a lot of appeals and litigation.”
 

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