Graffiti 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.”