Gang violence forum held in Southold
Gang violence is a big concern in the Town of Southold following the arrests of several MS-13 gang members. Residents and police came together Thursday night to discuss what is being done about the problem.
Police arrested five suspected MS-13 gang members for allegedly shooting two rival gang members.
The arrests served as a wake-up call to Southold residents that gangs are in their neighborhood.
The Suffolk Sheriff's Department says its office has identified almost 4,000 gang members and associates since 2002. They say most are transients who travel in and out of affluent areas to sell drugs and burglarize homes and businesses.
"What we're having the most problem with now is El Salvadoran gangs, such as MS-13, MS-18, that was the faction involved in the Oct. 14 shooting," said Chief Martin Flatley, of the Southold Police Department.
Flatley says his department has hired eight new officers to beef up patrols in Greenport. In addition, he says they are developing community outreach programs and anti-gang education for students.
The police chief says Thursday's meeting is not where the dialogue stops. He says there will be more forums in the future to keep residents informed about the steps being taken to fight the gang problem on the East End.