Salt & Light: A Guide to Loving Northwest Indiana

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NYV^ \W PU ULPNOIVYOVVKZ ^OLYL NHUNZ HYL H ^H` VM SPML 6[OLYZ MLLS [OL` OH]L [V QVPU H NHUN MVY WYV[LJ[PVU ;OL` TH` OH]L WYVISLTZ H[ OVTL ^OPJO THRL Z[YLL[ SPML WYLMLYHISL 6Y [OL` TH` JVTL MYVT H ZPUNSL WHYLU[ OVTL ^OLYL [OL` KV UV[ MLLS SV]LK VY JHYLK MVY 0U [OPZ JHZL [OL NHUN Ă„SSZ H NHW HUK NP]LZ [OLT H ZLUZL VM MHTPS` .HUN YLJY\P[TLU[ [HRLZ WSHJL PU ULPNOIVYOVVKZ HUK H[ ZJOVVSZ 9LJY\P[LYZ ZLK\JL WV[LU[PHS PUK\J[LLZ ^P[O NSVYPĂ„LK stories about money, power, and sex. They may also try to force membership with intimidation and physical violence against young people or their families. 0 ?a^\XbX]V B^[dcX^] Providing youth with a sense of family and a positive outlet for their energy are ways churches and civic groups can aid law enforcement in combating criminal gangs. Many children who end up in gangs come from homes without positive role models. Churches and civic groups can provide mentors who create a bond with the children and offer them positive encouragement. In addition, they can provide children a positive outlet for their time, as well as teach and model JYP[PJHS SPML ZRPSSZ :OVY[ Ă„LSK [YPWZ JHU LK\JH[L [LLUZ [V [OL MHJ[ [OH[ [OL ^VYSK KVLZ UV[ LUK H[ [OLPY ISVJR HUK [OLYL HYL more rewarding activities than gang banging on a corner. Research has clearly shown that youth participating in after-school activities perform much better in their academic studies and have better futures.1 Children that do not have after-school activities are often unsupervised and have a much greater chance of getting involved in gangs and criminal behavior. The reduction and eventual elimination of criminal gangs is a must for Northwest Indiana. The police cannot handle the problem alone. Success is dependent on collaboration between police and our communities, who by responding together, create a solid partnership and a combined vision for safe neighborhoods.

Gang-Related Statistics } } } }

Approximately 1 million gang members, belonging to more than 20,000 gangs, were criminally active within all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of September 2008. Criminal gangs commit as much as 50 percent of the crime in many communities across the Central Region. (Michigan to Kentucky, west to North Dakota to Kansas.) Typical gang-related crimes include alien smuggling, armed robbery, assault, auto theft, drug trafficking, extortion, fraud, home invasions, identity theft, murder, and weapons trafficking. The most significant gangs operating in the Central Region are Chicago-based Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings, Vice Lords, and Black P. Stones.

[National Drug Intelligence Center, National Gang Threat Assessment 2009 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, January 2009), http://www. justice.gov/ndic/pubs32/32146/index.htm#Key.]

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