Sampson County Sheriff's Office
Sheriff Jimmy Thornton


Sampson County Gang Task Force

Sheriff Jimmy Thornton and representatives from various government agencies in Sampson County met at the Sampson County Administration Auditorium on Monday, October 22nd to discuss "gang activity" in Sampson County and possible responses.  The meeting was the first of the Sampson County Gang Task Force, which is sponsored by the Sampson County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Jimmy Thornton stated , "We have a serious gang problem in Sampson County and I intend to do something about it!  Sampson County has been identified as one of thirty-four jurisdictions by the Govenor's Crime Commission with a pressing gang problem and eligible for funding for a Gang Investigator and prevention/intervention funding.  We applied for a Gang Investigor/Intervention Coordinator as part of a grant in 2006, however the major metropolitan areas in the state received the funding.  The current grant intitiative targets rural as well as urban areas, and Sampson County is specifically identified."

Sheriff Thornton feels that there needs to be input from other disciplines and the community when it comes to developing a community-wide response.  The first meeting, which was held on Monday involved representatives from other government agencies.  The purpose of that meeting was to provide information on risk factors associated with gang involvement and to identify resources that they had available to address those risk factors.  The meeting allowed other county departments and municipal agencies to coordinate existing resources, so each agency knows what the other is capable of providing.  Its important that we "have our ducks in a row" before we start bringing in other community resources.  Community representatives and civic organizations will be incorporated during future meetings to identify additional resources and develop a "community-wide response plan" which will address prevention and intervention, as well as suppression.

The need for gang intervention and prevention is evident in the increase of gang-related crimes, i.e. drug sales, robberies, assaults, and other violent crimes.  The recent homicide on Bid Lane, which is believed to be gang related is a prime example of the growing problem.  Gang grafitti and vandalism around the schools is an obvious sign of a growing community problem.

"To properly deal with the gang situation our entire community needs to respond.  Law enforcement can make arrests, but if we as a society don't do something to break the cycle, we're not in any better shape."  stated Thronton.   "During the next few weeks we will be inviting community leaders, civic organizations and other concerned entities to join the Sampson County Gang Task Force."

PUBLIC INFORMATION ON GANGS

Presentation on Gangs
Gang Profile - Crips Gang Profile - Bloods
Gang Profile - Latin Kings Gang Profile - Vice Lords
 


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