CHARLES TOWN, W.VA. - Charles Town officials said Monday they are working on new laws to control criminal street gangs in the city to help prevent the groups from extending their reach from nearby states.
Local police in past years have been preparing for MS-13 gangs, which have been operating in Northern Virginia, police said.
Local police said Monday there has been some gang-related graffiti in the Charles Town area but they do not believe gangs are a significant problem in the area yet.
To help prevent gang-related violence locally, Charles Town Police Department officials are proposing to adopt gang-violence laws similar to those passed in Northern Virginia, Sgt. Jim Knott said.
But unlike Northern Virginia regulations, the Charles Town Police Department is proposing to make street-gang violations misdemeanors, Knott said.
Charles Town cannot make gang law violations felonies because that would involve state and local resources that are not available, Knott said.