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William Bratton, NYPD commissioner, lauds feds for cutting down gang recruitment

New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton

New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton speaks about computer statistics during a press conference on Dec. 2, 2015 in Manhattan. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Gang-related murders and drug and gun trafficking will continue to be “part of life” in some neighborhoods as long as gang recruitment continues to lure boys and men from public housing, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said in a radio interview Monday.

“The problem is there is no shortage of recruits. We have to try to break that cycle,” Bratton said on the John Gambling Show on 970-AM.

Bratton hailed the arrests during the past six months of dozens of Bronx gang members, who face federal charges, as an effective measure to decrease gang recruitment in state prisons.

“In state prisons, to survive, [a prisoner] ends up reaffirming allegiance to gangs,” Bratton said.

If convicted, the gang members will be sent “to federal prisons across the nation. They will be shipped out all around the country and will not be in state prisons,” Bratton said.

Last week, agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Drug Enforcement Administration, along with the NYPD, arrested suspected members of two gangs that authorities say have been operating a crack cocaine and heroin operation as well as selling guns in two housing developments. The gang members face racketeering charges related to drug and firearms sales and several killings, assaults and stabbings.

According to the federal indictment some gang members are charged in connection with three killings and 30 other shootings. He said in one case, a rival gang member was stomped to death; the victim was 16.

Bratton said “neighborhoods are still terrorized,” adding that social media has enabled police to track gang operations and recruitment efforts.

But like global terrorists, gang members also are using encrypted video games to communicate, he said. “This is an ongoing problem for law enforcement — not to be able to get into these sites.”

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