From the Times Ledger:
Gang activity and drug use in Queens have been rising over the last couple of years, according to U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and the elected official has some plans in Washington to curb the problem from different angles.
In a conference call Tuesday afternoon, the senator said she was appalled at the statistics her office discovered on the number of gangs operating in the state and wanted the federal government to step in. The problem is expected to get worse since children and teens will be looking for an outlet during the summer months and a rough economy will not give them safer options, according to the senator.
There are as many as 22,000 gang members and 670,000 New Yorkers are suffering from substance abuse that is directly related to gang activity, according to Gillibrand.
Queens has the second-highest number of substance abuse cases with more than 163,000 and is tied with the Bronx for the second-highest number of gang members — between 2,500 and 3,500 members, the senator said. Brooklyn had the highest number of people with substance abuse problems, more than 200,000, and gang members — between 3,500 and 10,000, according to Gillibrand’s data.
Gillibrand said the gangs have been targeting children as young as 13 to be the eyes and ears of the groups for their illegal operations.