NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The city is among the four out of 10 municipalities in the state that reported gang activity in the past year, according to the results of a survey conducted by the State Police.
Of the 126 gangs active in Middlesex County, 13 operate in New Brunswick, with an estimated 392 individual members, according to the report, Gangs in New Jersey: Municipal Law Enforcement Response to the 2010 NJSP Gang Survey.
The survey of local police departments found that G-Shine Bloods and the 9-3 (Nine Trey) Bloods “gang sets” are among the most active in the city. Both are heavily involved in selling marijuana and cocaine, the State Police study found.
Survey results show the number of gangs and members are linked to the size and population of each municipality, with more populated cities such as Newark reporting more than 2,600 purported individual gang members; and Trenton, about 1,300.
New Brunswick Police Director Peter Mangarella said the city’s open communication with neighboring police departments and a gang awareness program conducted in the schools has kept gang activity at a manageable level.
``We’ve always stayed on top of our gang activity,’’ he said. ``Our main concern is recruitment,’’ which tends to target youngersters. ``If we can get to these kids at a younger age, we can cut the stream. Our best hope is to educate our youth.’’
The city police work closing with the Middlesex Prosecutor’s Office to identify gang members charged with crimes and assist with ``enhanced prosecutions,’’ aimed at keeping them behind bars once they are convicted, Mangarella said.
He noted that gang members tend to cross municipal borders, committing crimes wherever they go, but said local police agencies exchange information in order to keep track of gang movement.
``We do have these spells where infighting kicks in’’ between gang sets, sometimes leading to murder, Mangarell said. ``But it’s not an overwhelming problem.’’
Among New Brunswick’s suburban neighbors, Piscataway reported 84 members involved with eight gangs, while Franklin Township, Somerset County, reported 420 individual members in 20 gangs.
Statewide, the report said, gangs are present in all 21 counties, with a total of 244 gangs and 1,575 affiliations, referred to as gang sets. One-hundred-forty-two municipalities reported no gang presence.
Middlesex County was among the nine counties reporting the presence of 90 gangs or more.
The survey, conducted every three years since 2004, reported that some areas of the state have seen jumps in gang activity, while others have seen sharp declines.
Middlesex County has seen neither; its numbers remained stable over the three survey years, 2004, 2007 and 2010.
The report proposed gang awareness education for schools and community organizations, advanced training for law enforcement, increased protections around school grounds and documented policies and procedures for dealing with the problem of gangs.