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    D.A. Powell speaks on gang violence concerns in Scranton

    By Kathryn Oleary,


    SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The presence of gangs and gang-related violence is becoming more apparent in the Scranton area.

    The recent violence in Scranton is a concerning trend for residents in the area 28/22 News had the opportunity to speak with District Attorney Mark Powell on the topic of gangs in Scranton and what needs to be fixed to reduce the crime rate.

    As Scranton sees a surge in gang-related activities the individuals committing these violent acts according to the DA are young people ranging from age 15 to age 25.

    “They’re not all juvenile offenders but they’re younger individuals who really lack a value a human life or concern for their fellow human beings, so we see these younger offenders carrying knives, carrying guns, and not afraid to use a gun,” says D.A. Powell.

    The D.A. said the gangs in Lackawanna County are the bloods and crips with adult members
    he adds there are satellite groups that come with them

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    “And the derivatives from those that involve some younger individuals and they have a variety of names but they’re loosely related gang organizations affiliated with those two major bodies,” added D.A. Powell.

    At the root of the problem is the lack of space in juvenile detention centers.

    “There’s absolutely a direct correlation with the inability to confine violent juveniles and crime. We need help addressing those issues, those ultimately will solve and reduce crime and make our community safer,” explained D.A. Powell.

    D.A. Powell says they are working to devote a wing in the Lackawanna County prison to juveniles, but they are months away from making it a reality, leaving the district to take drastic measures to detain the younger criminals

    “We put bracelets on them, try to keep them in their home, if they cut off a bracelet we put a bracelet on them again, that system fails to work effectively so we are forced to charge these violent offenders as adults,” added D.A. Powell.

    The D.A.’s office is using the recent investigations and arrests to make a statement.

    “Those we are actively prosecuting to the fullest and trying to make example of these cases to act as a deterrent to others,” stated D.A. Powell.

    Sending a strong statement the county will not stand for the violence.

    “If they hurt somebody or have guns or knives involved in violent activity, we’re going to hold them 100% accountable, and that’s my job and I take it very seriously, whether that scares them straight or educates them properly, they need to know that there are consequences for their actions,” continued D.A. Powell.

    District Attorney Powell also says his office and Scranton police cannot fight this battle alone, communities also need to step up and create safe spaces and activities for younger individuals to get involved in so they don’t resort to joining a gang for a sense of community.

    D.A. Powell stresses if you know something related to gangs say something to the police so the violence can stop.

    Copyright 2024 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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