Crime & Courts

$612K federal grant to help Charlotte-Mecklenburg police fight gangs

FILE PHOTO - May 20, 2015 - The FBI, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assisted in the arrests of many suspected gang members in the Charlotte area.
FILE PHOTO - May 20, 2015 - The FBI, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) assisted in the arrests of many suspected gang members in the Charlotte area. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department is getting more federal money to buy cameras and expand a youth program to help fight gangs.

The Charlotte City Council voted Monday to accept a $612,922 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to focus on anti-gang efforts.

The bulk of the money will be used to buy 26 cameras to help monitor areas of suspected gang activity. That includes 20 “rapid deployment covert gang” cameras that can be moved easily into areas where gangs may be present so police can gather criminal intelligence and evidence.

The department will also buy six stationary, street-level cameras that will go in “crime hot spots” for more continuous surveillance.

Other money from the grant will be used to expand the Gang Alternative Principles youth program run by the nonprofit Charlotte Community Services Association. The effort, which has served nearly 600 youth in its six years, offers programs on life skills, anger management and leadership, according to information given to the City Council.

The grant will enable the program to reach 80 more students in grades seven through 12 and for the first time allow for separate two-week sessions for male and female students.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak

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