District Attorney Carnright has requested and County Executive Hein has agreed, as part of the Proposed 2012 County Budget, to hire a full-time Assistant District Attorney, assigned specifically to help combat crime and gang violence in the city of Kingston. This is an excellent proposal.
When I was growing up, Kingston was a safe place to live. People did not bother to lock their doors and thought nothing of walking around the neighborhood after dark.
However, this is not the case today. There has been a steady increase in crime and gang violence over the past few years. Our city has become dirty, marked with vandalism and graffiti, and unsafe after dark.
A study was done a few years ago on the level of gang infiltration in the City of Kingston. This study determined that there were over 300 known gang members in our city. There were over 100 members of the Bloods and more than 75 members of the Crips, including a sub-gang of Crips called the Rolling 60’s. There were also more than 50 members of the Latin Kings and MS-13 and a local gang known as Exit 19.
These gangs have members who are only 12 years old and in some cases accept even younger members. The number one target for recruitment to these gangs is Middle School, not High School as originally thought.
I commend D.A. Carnright and County Executive Hein for this proposal which is desperately needed in the City of Kingston.
Now, the budget goes to the County Legislature. While I know that the Legislature has some very legitimate concerns about other provisions within this budget proposal, I urge them to keep the new Assistant District Attorney funding in place. Kingston and the surrounding area needs to take a strong stand in the fight against gangs and the associated drugs and violence.