Gang intervention program to lose funding - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Gang intervention program to lose funding

Posted: Updated:
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Many credit "Gang of One" for a drop in Charlotte's gang activity. But, we've learned grant money for the Charlotte -Mecklenburg Police Department won't be renewed.

"We're helping our young people understand that joining a gang is a choice and there are better choices out there than being involved in a gang," said Fran Cook, Director of Gang of One. 

Fran Cook started CMPD's Gang of One program in 2004.

Now, it's on the chopping block. The grants to fund it run out in June and the future of gang prevention in Charlotte is uncertain.

"There's no specific agency to pass the baton to for these 80 families in Charlotte," said Fran.

She says 70% of the teens who join the program no longer re offend. That's a huge pay off for Gang of One case workers.

"The reward for us is when one of our young people completes their GED, completes high school, stops their criminal activity, understands how to dress for an interview and how to actually obtain a job and begins working," she said.

Kids such as 16-year-old "Phantom".

WBTV met him last year.

He joined Gang of One to get out of the Gang Sur 13.

"The clique I was in, that's all it was basically about getting money," said Phantom.

The funding cuts mean no more one on one with teens like Phantom. The program will loose all of its 8 staff members. Fran says the department will work with gang officers and outreach partners on gang prevention, but losing the program would be a setback for the families involved.

"These are folks who are used to people coming in and out of their lives very quickly, we don't want it to be that kind of agency, even as we're winding down," she said.

In order to stay operating, the program would need $500,000.

CMPD has publicly credited Gang of One with helping level its gang rates over the past years.

Copyright 2013 WBTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow