Last Friday the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, announced the arrest of nineteen gang members as part of a joint investigation with the NYPD. According to the Daily News, the gang members, some as young as seventeen, operated in central Harlem gang. The charges include gun possession to attempted murder. The gang members are alleged to have transported guns from Virginia, a state from which many of the illegal guns in New York City are initially purchased.
Youth gangs are a growing concern in upper Manhattan and many neighborhoods across the City. On-going rivalries between local gangs has led to shootings and other acts of violence in Harlem. According to a soon to be released report by the East Harlem Juvenile Gang Task Force, the number of youth gang members identified by law enforcement in upper Manhattan grew from 150 to 1000 between 2007 and 2009; also, gang involved juveniles were responsible for 29% of all gun related homicides and 30% of non-fatal shootings in 2009.