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Gillibrand unveils initiative to combat gang activity

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Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

By Eileen Buckley

Washington, DC – US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced a new legislative agenda Tuesday to combat gang activity and substance abuse.

Gillibrand's plan increases resources for law enforcement to fight gang activity. It would also toughen penalties for gang-related offenses while expanding access to effective mentoring programs to keep children out of gangs.

"Too many communities are seeing increasing gang activity and the violent crime that comes with it," Gillibrand said.

There are 50,000 gang members across New York State. Nearly two million New Yorkers are suffering from substance abuse, believed to be fueled by gangs trafficking drugs.

Here in Western New York, it's estimated that there are as many as 4,000 gang members.