Gang Prevention Study Committee
This booklet is designed to provide the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and fax numbers of those actively involved in combating gangs in South Carolina. The list includes law enforcement officers and officials, prosecutors, victim advocates, private organizations, and others actively working to eliminate gang activity in our state. In compiling this directory, members of my staff talked to hundreds of South Carolinians from the Low Country to the Piedmont. Many were aware of the growing threat that gangs posed to the peace and order of our communities. However, some said, “Fortunately we don’t have that problem in our part of the state.” Yet the Gang Prevention Study Committee -- appointed by the Legislature and comprised of constitutional officers, representatives from the House and Senate, and relevant state and local agencies -- reported the following:
It is the finding of the committee that criminal gangs have spread throughout our state and now pose a significant threat to the community at large. That threat is at least two-fold.
“First, full-fledged gangs engage in criminal activity. Typically they deal in drugs and extortion, smuggle illegal goods into the U.S., commit robbery and murder, and intimidate and brutalize each other and their innocent victims.
“Second, the average age of a criminal gang member is 15. Thus members frequently come under state supervision while they are juveniles and -- through probation, parole, and incarceration -- remain under supervision well into adulthood. Such supervision costs taxpayers. It’s difficult to put a price tag on these services, but the cost to South Carolina taxpayers is substantial.”
To combat the devastating effects of gang activity, state and local governments are adopting three approaches – (1) prevention, (2) strict enforcement of the law, and (3) rehabilitation. We believe this directory will prove useful in all three.
First, it will provide parents, clergy, and other responsible adults with the names and addresses of organizations that can assist schools and families in preventing young people from joining gangs in the first place. Studies suggest that this is the most practical approach, since it spares families the emotional stress of exposure to gang life and saves taxpayers the expense of local and state supervision.
Second, the directory will provide law enforcement officers with contacts throughout the state, enabling them to exchange information on gang activities, track suspects into other jurisdictions, and make use of statewide expertise.
And third, the directory will help those who supervise gang members already in the system to monitor their behavior in the community and to work with organizations and individuals dedicated to the rehabilitation of young people.
The usefulness of this directory will depend on how diligently and accurately it is maintained. For this reason we intend to post it on the Attorney General’s website: firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope that those of you who use it will inform us of any updates in your section of the volume – e.g., changes of personnel, addresses, or phone numbers.
As chairman of the Gang Prevention Study Committee I hope this project will help South Carolinians as they confront this problem in our state. The sooner we address it as a united people, the sooner we can begin to salvage lives and save tax dollars.Gang Intervention Directory