East Baton Rouge residents react to news of gangs

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 6:30pm

30 street gangs live in East Baton Rouge Parish. That's according to a study released by District Attorney Hillar Moore.

Moore says 50 percent of murders during past 2 years were gang related.

The study identified more than 500 gang members in the parish.

Now the D.A. plans on doing a "call in" to give criminals a chance to to change or else.

"We let you know we know who you are. You know who we are. There is a brand new day in town. From this day on the day of the call in if you or one of your group members commits a crime of violence or murder that all law enforcement efforts are going to be focused on you and your group," Moore explained.

The D.A. says the meeting will include gang members, law enforcement, and social services. No word on when that meeting will take place.

People living in East Baton Rouge say they're not surprised the parish has gangs. They say more needs to be done to help cut down on gang violence.

"All gangs start off in small groups or clicks as they call them, and they eventually turn to gangs," Stephen Edmond, Baton Rouge resident, said.

People living in the parish say street gangs are not new to area, but they're not like gangs in other cities.

"I can see why they are calling it 30 gangs," Roderick Birks, 70805 resident, said. "Because they are probably looking at 30 different groups of people in 30 different neighborhoods.There are probably not 30 different organized gangs."

Parish officials say the gangs play a big role in parish crime.

"Because if they are gangs people will still kill each other and that is a problem.," Clifford Minor, who lives in one of the most dangerous parts of the parish 70805 zipcode, said.

Minor believes part of the problem is a lack of opportunities for teens.

"A lack of support they don't know where else to go. No support nobody is reaching their hand out and saying hey have some means to help you. I'm going to help you," Minor stated.

Now the community wants local officials to step in to cut down on gang violence.

"The D.A. really needs to do their job to rectify that, because there is nothing that we can do I guess besides turn people in," Birks said.

"A kid wants to be violent then he is going to be violent. There is nothing that is going to be able to stop him; not a jail sentence not even the death penalty," Edmond explained.

The community members we talked to say they supports the D.A.'s plan to host a gang "call in".

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