Five pointed-crown tattoos. Dog-paw prints burned into arms with cigars. Blue bandanas dangling from pockets. The Trenton Times says those were among gang-related symbols that Mercer County Sheriff’s investigator Robert Gioscio showed local judges yesterday. With more than 500 members of street gangs in the county, most judges who handle criminal cases have at least one gang-related case on their dockets. Last week, a major Trenton gang trial for the leader, or “Original Gangster,” and a foot soldier in the Bounty Hunter Bloods gang ended with murder convictions.
While being in a gang is not illegal, it can lead to criminal acts, Gioscio said. One out of five murders in New Jersey is gang-related, he said. “What worries me most are the juveniles, the minor leagues,” he said. He urged parents to devote time and attention to their children to help combat the lure of gangs. “They’re trying to recruit younger and younger kids,” Gioscio said. “Love your kids. Try to keep them busy. If they ask to you to hit a baseball with them, don’t say I don’t have time for that.”