CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hidden Valley has been in the news a lot over the past couple of months for all the wrong reasons: several shootings and murders.
Tuesday afternoon Charlotte-Mecklenburg police met with members of the community to tell them about an eight month long undercover operation and a new initiative to target gang members.
“It’s a cycle. At some point people get old. At some point people in the gang, go to jail,” said Chief Rodney Monroe.
Monroe said that the Hidden Valley Kings are trying to make a comeback. Several years ago, the Feds took down the leadership of the gang.
Police say an offshoot, the North Side Valley Boys, which were young teens then, have now assumed the leadership of the Kings and are actively recruiting 15 to 17 year olds to join.
“There are younger people that have an opportunity to be lured into it by the music, by the drugs, by the money, so it’s a cycle,” said Monroe.
Police are trying a new tactic against the gang: filing a civil injunction that could potentially give them more leeway to disrupt gang activity.
“What we are asking the court to do is issue an order prohibiting gang members from meeting together in public areas. We are particularly focused on the younger gang members,” said police attorney Mark Newbold.
“We want to intervene and prevent them from meeting with experienced and older gang members.”
Yvonne Rose’s son, Brandon Alexander, was shot and wounded when bullets were fired into a car he was riding in a few weeks ago, killing two other people.
She said she does not know if the new program would have prevented the shooting that wounded her son.
"I’m sure it will help if they are able to do it, but I just don’t see how that is going to be possible,” she said.
Back in June, an undercover drug sting in the parking lot of Hidden Valley Elementary School went bad and one person was killed by police. Investigators said that sting was part of the investigation leading up to today’s arrests.
In 2007 the FBI arrested several suspected leaders of the Hidden Valley Kings, leaders whom Chief Monroe now says are being replaced by a new, younger generation.
Police arrested eight gang members on Tuesday and filed the injunction. The chief got the idea from the Los Angeles Police Department and wanted to try it out here.
Charlotte becomes the first city in North Carolina to use the newly approved Gang Suppression Act.
Gary Dawkins is the head of the Hidden Valley Community Association and said the neighborhood has improved because of continued cooperation with police and area residents.
“We work together as a team and hopefully with this program we will also work as a team and get things taken care of,” said Dawkins.
Yvonne Rose is willing to give the new offensive some time to see if it can succeed.
“Yes, it is a good thing they are doing something,” she said.
“In order to really crack a gang in the past, you had to build these significant cases to eliminate the upper echelon. But this way it gives up more of an opportunity to intervene where you can hopefully break that cycle,” said Chief Monroe.