The Washington Examiner is reporting that programs aimed at eradicating street gangs in suburban Maryland, as well as Northern Virginia, are now being threatened due to a loss of federal funding. The concerted anti-gang efforts in both states have been successful in reducing gang activity since 2003; for example, the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, which targets youth who haven’t joined gangs yet and at-risk students who already have, has reduced gang activity by 34 percent. This particular gang prevention program is pricey, however, costing $30,000 a month to run.
The states’ anti-gang programs have been receiving funding under a congressional earmark, which, according to the Examiner, is a “funding mechanism that allows local congressmen to skirt funding competitions within federal agencies.” Now denounced as wasteful spending, smaller jurisdictions, such as Fairfax County, will now have to compete for federal funding against larger cities, such as Baltimore and Chicago.
Funding may not be hard to come by for law enforcement initiatives, but the director of the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force states simply arresting gang members is not enough to prevent gang violence; the key is prevention and prevention programs.
Being involved in any crime in Maryland can leave a person facing serious penalties and consequences without proper legal representation. With years of experience defending Maryland residents against all types of criminal charges, a Bethesda criminal defense lawyer at the law firm of Alpert Schreyer can help you when you are facing criminal charges. For a complimentary consultation regarding your case, call (866) 444-6363.