The bill makes participating in gang related activity a felony.
Senator Lee M. Zeldin of Shirley announced Friday the Senate passed the Criminal Street Gang Act. Zeldin and Senator Martin Golden sponsored the bill in hopes of putting a dent in gang violence. The bill was inspired by community activists in Brentwood and Central Islip, family members affected by violence, and state and local officials who held peaceful rallies these last few weeks.
“The threat of gang violence in some of New York’s communities is constant and pervasive, plaguing entire communities. It jeopardizes public safety, threatens the security of our citizens and wreaks havoc on affected families,” said Senator Zeldin. “The State has an express responsibility to protect the public against such destructive criminal activity and this bill aims to do just that.”
The bill makes felons out of anyone participating in criminal street gang offenses, the acceptance of benefits or proceeds of gang activity, and the solicitation or recruitment of a person for involvement in a criminal street gang. It also creates anti-crime programs through the State Education Department by establishing a fund to educators so students can gain self values, self-esteem, knowledge, and the skills necessary to stay off the streets.
Also with such high rates of recidivism, Zeldin hopes this bill will show inmates the dangers of being in a gang. More importantly it will provide support services to help them get out safely.
“Too many New York families have been shattered by gang violence. Over the past couple of weeks, I have seen, first-hand, the tremendous pain criminal gang activity can cause, not only on the family members of the victims, but to an entire community. Enough is enough,” Said Zeldin. “I am incredibly proud of the comprehensive statutory framework we have created with this legislation, and I want to thank Senator Golden for his work on this bill as well as all of the community leaders whose passion and determination helped drive its passage.”