Gang violence is on the rise across the country. Earlier this week, 11 members of Syracuse's V-NOT gang were rounded up under the anti-racketeering statute. As our Katie Gibas reports, just days after federal authorities round up members of one of the most violent gangs in the City of Syracuse, city police are already looking at bringing down the next gang.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's been a long and violent rivalry between V-NOT and Bricktown gangs, one that's resulted in the death of a toddler and of a former high school basketball star who were innocent bystanders.
"Our response is to behavior, violent criminal behavior. That's what draws our attention to a particular gang," said Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler.
The V-NOT and Bricktown gangs retaliation against rival gang members has been the source of many stabbings and shooting in the city of Syracuse. Eleven members of the V-NOT gang were busted just days ago, almost one year to date after 13 members of the Bricktown gang were taken down. Both were charged under the anti-racketeering statute. Authorities say the city is a safer place now that these gang members are behind bars.
"You can see a significance difference in the neighborhood. In fact, when we arrest the gangs, we run the crime stats before and after year to date before and after in those neighborhoods. And you see that they're significant. The crime stats are significantly different," said Fowler.
But police say their challenge is far from over.
"The City of Syracuse is 22.22 square miles. The south side makes up 2.4 square miles of the city. There's 21 gangs in the city, 10 of which are located on the south side of the city. Our attention will likely shift to those who are second on the list or those who are the most violent criminals in our neighborhoods now," said Fowler.
For many, ending the violence seems like an impossible task. But Police Chief Frank Fowler asserts is can be done, but not without help from the community.
"I firmly believe that this can be brought under control. But locking people up is not the answer. It's not the only answer to this problem. The suppression piece, the piece that we're responsible for, it covers about 60 percent of the issue. The intervention and prevention piece is significant and without that, law enforcement is going to find itself in a vicious cycle," said Fowler.
But Chief Fowler promises those responsible for violence in the city that it's only a matter of time before Police take them down one by one.
There are a number of organizations in Syracuse working to try to keep kids out of gangs. Syracuse police encourage the public to be the eyes and ears of the community and report any suspicious activity, so that police can investigate.
For more information on gang violence signs and prevention check out the links below: