Thursday, October 18, 2018
Targeting Long Island's gang problem
From CBS 2:
Retired Suffolk County Police detective John Oliva specialized in gangs.
So why are gang members recruiting children as young as 10 or 11?
“It’s the age where can start getting into these kids’ heads,” Oliva said. “The recruitment sometimes occurs at home also. We’ve had it where three, four brothers in the same family part of the MS-13 street gang.”
Feride Castillo of the Empowerment Collaborative of Long Island works with young children in poverty.
“When we are talking about gangs, the dynamics are so complicated,” Castillo said. “We are talking about children sometimes even being born into families that are already involved in gangs.”
“It’s kind of hard dealing with the struggle and stuff like that, because, you know, you come from a gang-related home,” 13-year-old “Maria” said. “Like, oh I want to be popular, so I am going to be in the gang.”
Some females but mostly males make up Long Island’s estimated 1,000 gang members. Protection from bullying, a desperate need to belong and a yearning for respect are all reasons why Sergio Argueta joined at age 13 and led a gang for five years in Hempstead.
“A mode of survival is fight or flight, right? And oftentimes, kids are getting tired of being bullied, of getting picked on,” Argueta said.