Skip to content

A town square for an unsquare town

redbankgreen

Standing for the vitality of Red Bank, its community, and the fun we have together.

RBR SHOWS ‘NO TOLERANCE’ FOR GANGS

Sureno_13_graffitiGraffiti that Red Bank police say refers to the Sureno 13 gang is visible in several locations, including this railroad gate on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

By TIM HATHAWAY

Is gang activity a problem in the Red Bank area?

“Right now, people don’t want to believe it’s happening here,” says Peter Gibson, a Little Silver policeman who’s on part-time assignment as the school resource officer at Red Bank Regional High School. But it is, he says, at least in its early forms. Gang graffiti can be seen on certain streets. Kids will wear red or blue, traditional colors for the Bloods, Crips and other gangs.

“Then you have the number 13 jerseys,” Gibson said. The number refers to Surenos 13, or Sur 13, one of the more active gangs in the area, he said.

“Fortunately no major incidents have occurred in our school,” Gibson said. But he and assistant principal Risa Clay think that being proactive is the best way to prevent gang presence from escalating.

They teamed up last month to create a gang task force at RBR to combat the threat of gangs on the streets, in schools and at home. They invited key members of the community to the first meeting on Oct. 29 to discuss education, prevention and intervention. About 22 people participated from schools, police departments, churches and social services organizations in the area. Regular meetings are planned for the future.

At RBR, “We have a ‘no tolerance’ policy,” said Clay. “It includes dress and behavior and all expressions of (gang) affiliation.”

Gibson_clay_2School resource officer Peter Gibson and assistant principal Risa Clay of Red Bank Regional High School have pulled together a task force to prevent the spread of gang involvement by area youths.

But simply sending kids home with suspensions doesn’t keep them from getting sucked in by the undertow. With 15 years of experience at RBR and a deep background in counseling, she felt that proposing the idea of a gang task force to Gibson and the community at large was a natural step.

“We’re using a model of prevention and intervention used for other things such as alcohol and drug abuse,” Clay said. When a child is identified as being at risk, a small group of people within the gang task force will intervene. Exactly how that intervention will occur is still being discussed, though.

Capt. Steve McCarthy of the Red Bank Police Department attended the first meeting. “We are very encouraged and supportive of this,” he said. “We have seen some indication (of gang presence in the area), mainly in the form of graffiti,” McCarthy said. The graffiti, he said, “seems to run in waves.”

Gang activity is rising in Monmouth County. According to the 2007 New Jersey State Police survey on gang activity released last month, “the proportion of Central Region municipalities reporting the presence of gangs increased most sharply in Monmouth County” since 2004. Of the 52 county municipalities surveyed, 22 reported gang presence, including Red Bank and Middletown.

The survey also said most criminal gang activity in New Jersey involves “‘crimes of opportunity’ that do not require significant levels of coordination, skills or resources.” And while violent crime in schools is rare, 51 percent of respondents across the state reported gang activity on school property.

Cutting off recruitment at an early age is essential, saw law enforcement personnel. “Your average age for gang members is 11-years-old to 24-years-old,” Gibson said.

“Grade five is the best time to start,” Clay said. “It’s all about making good choices from a young age.” She noted that the G.R.E.A.T program (Gang Resistance, Education and Training) is already in place at Red Bank’s middle and charter schools. This helps her know where some of her 1,200-student population is starting in terms of education about gangs.

Both Gibson and Clay said prevention is about working together as a community. If a kid starts wearing a lot of red or blue, using odd handshakes or putting on different jewelry, even rubber bands, it may be a sign for others to jump in before someone starts to drown.

“Don’t ignore it,” said Gibson.

Clay is extending an invitation to all community leaders who feel they can make a contribution to join the gang task force. To participate or learn more, call her at 732.842.8000 or e-mail her.

Email this story

Remember: Nothing makes a Red Bank friend happier than to hear "I saw you on Red Bank Green!"
Partyline
GOING GREY
Workers painting the stone facade of the PNC Bank at the corner of Broad and Harding Thursday morning. An upgrade? Maybe it’s just pri ...
COFFEE & WILDLIFE
RED BANK: The best wildlife show in town can be taken in from a waterfront bench outside the public library, and it's totally free.
FAWNING OVER HER BABY
A mother deer and her fawn were spotted between a row of garages on Hudson Avenue and some trees alongside the Broad Street parking lots. Re ...
EVENING ESCAPE
RED BANK: Sailors in Monmouth Boat Club's weekly racing series found tranquil conditions on the Navesink River Tuesday evening.
PEAK COLOR ON BROAD
RED BANK: A year after they were installed, downtown mini gardens have added to "transformational" improvements, says business owner.
RED BANK: FAIRIES MOVE IN ON WHITE STREET
Red Bank: Girl scouts turns tiny parking lot plot of dirt into a "magical girls sparkle garden."
TRAINING UNDER FIRE
RED BANK: Volunteer firefighters train to cut into pitched roofs under active fire conditions.
“SUPERMOM” WANTS YOUR VOTE
Business owner. Dyed in the wool, lifelong Red Banker. Mother of six. Yup, seems like Anita Pierce does it all. In other words, she’s ...
SPLENDOR IN THE GRASS
RED BANK: Town prepares for Saturday's Pride in the Park celebration with another lawn art design by public works supervisor and Fire Chief ...
MOVIES VIA LIBRARY
RED BANK: Public Library now offers members access to streaming movies via Kanopy, with some 30,000 titles and tons of content for kids.
NEW RAINBOW CROSSWALK ON BROWN PLACE
Kicking off pride month, some Brown Place and Spring Street residents, ages 5 to 11, constructed a rainbow crosswalk with chalk over the wee ...
WHAT TO WEAR?
RED BANK: Dressmakers' mannequins appeared to mull what to wear as they looked down on Monmouth Street last week.
SYMPHONY RETURNS JUNE 29
RED BANK: An annual crowd pleaser returns June 29 with a free concert in Marine Park by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, RiverCenter said ...
Heard on the Green
Heard on the Green
DUCK RESCUE EFFORT
Duckling rescue attempt underway in sewer at East Front and Broad, 10:29 a.m.
HOUSING CRUNCH
Demolition begins for new apartments at Globe Court and Mechanic Street.
FEELING SNAPPY
      Snapping Turtles come ashore to lay their eggs this time of year and are a common site along the Swimming River waterfr ...
TUB TIME
RED BANK: A sparrow waits for the next available dirt tub while two others take their Sunday baths. (Click for video.)
CHECK IT OUT
A bench outside the Red Bank Public Library provided a serene view of our beautiful Navesink River Monday evening.
WAYWARD SLIM JIM
Anybody lose a Slim Jim? A “Sweet Mild O’ Mine” flavor Slim Jim was seen left unattended on this mailbox on Mechanic Stree ...