Gang violence headlines serve as a wake up call to area

Gang violence is on the rise in the Charlotte area, causing concern for local authorities and residents.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Recent headlines about gang and violent crimes have been a wake up call to many, and we're not just talking about the more widely known MS-13s, Bloods, or Crips.

We're talking about gangs right in your neighborhood.

"There are probably different neighborhoods that are more prone to gang activity," said Dr. Shannon Reid, Assistant Professor at UNC-Charlotte. "Any neighborhood can have a gang member or sort of start a gang problem as you see services and community projects, parks, and all these things sort of close and leave neighborhoods."

WCNC researched some of the gang-related stores in our archives as recent as this past weekend in Salisbury, Labor Day weekend in Charlotte, early last year in Rock Hill, and late last year in Chester County, where the sheriff didn't hold back about gangs on his streets.

"I'm telling you right now, I am personally declaring war on gangs in Chester County, so you don't have to look for me. I'm coming for you," said Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood in November of 2014.

Underwood's comments came in the wake of the murder of a Chester council member.

"What you have most times is these local, neighborhood-based groups that form very sort-of centralized to a neighborhood, like Hidden Valley Kings," said Reid.

Eight years ago, many of them were rounded up in a federal sweep and sentenced to time in prison. Today, there are pockets of neighborhood gangs and they can be anywhere and could pop up at any time.

"I don't think there's any sense that one group is more dangerous than another group. Unfortunately, their access to guns, their access to drugs is going to be very similar," Reid told WCNC.


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