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Task force reports on gang activity in Williamsport

August 10, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

WILLIAMSPORT -- A police task force working to address gang problems in Williamsport arrested a juvenile for weapons violations, according to a Williamsport Town Council report.

The report, read by council member Monty R. Jones during the town council meeting Monday night, said the juvenile was arrested after the mother of the youth became concerned and contacted police about possible weapons.

Jones said after the council meeting that he could not elaborate on the arrest.

Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Carl D. Witmer said in the report for July that another arrest was made earlier this month.

Police said last month that Williamsport started experiencing problems with gangs in June. At that time, police said the gangs consisted of male teenagers who have assaulted other gang members and other youths not affiliated with a gang.

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Witmer, who referred to one of the gangs as the SWAG gang, said in his report that the group continues to be active in town, but to a lesser degree than the previous month.

A few of the gang members have stated they quit due to police pressure, Witmer said in his report.

Most of the parents who have children involved in the gang have been made aware of the problem and the police gang task force has been working hard to resolve the problem, according to Witmer's report.

Witmer could not be reached Monday night for comment.

Jones said Monday night that he attributed the formation of the gang to youths who want to belong to something. He also said it appears they are youths who have "no structure in their lives."

Jones said the gangs have been responsible for vandalism, graffiti, and some breaking and entering involving automobiles.

The task force is made up of police from the sheriff's office, the Hagerstown Police Department, Boonsboro and Hancock, Jones said.

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