Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore (R) is pledging a renewed effort to capture and punish gang members, the Washington Post reports. Kilgore says that gang violence has spread from Virginia’s urban areas to its rural corners and is on the rise throughout the state.
Kilgore has crated a “working group” in his office to promote tougher laws and develop law enforcement techniques aimed specifically at gangs. He said the group would seek to add anti-gang messages to the state’s school curriculum.
Kilgore’s predecessor, Mark L. Earley (R), created a similar task force in 1998. That group, on which Kilgore served, developed more than 60 recommendations, most of which have not been adopted by the legislature.
Police and sheriff’s departments in Northern Virginia have pooled their resources to form a regional anti-gang unit funded by about $500,000 from the federal government. U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) says that “these gangs must understand that they cannot prey on our friends, families and neighbors any longer.”