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Are Gang Leaders Recruiting Your Kids At School? [AUDIO]

Statistics now show that no county in New Jersey is without gang activity. Gangs are no longer just an urban problem. They have crept into suburbia and even rural areas of the state.

State Senator Nick Sacco (Kevin McArdle, Townsquare Media)

It doesn’t matter if you live in a low-income area or the wealthiest town in the Garden State,  gang-bangers could be targeting your children for membership even while they’re in school.

The State Senate Law and Public Safety Committee has approved a bill sponsored by Senator Nick Sacco to upgrade the crime of soliciting or recruiting for a criminal street gang while on school property. For years, drug dealer have faced stiffer penalties for selling their wares in “drug-free” school zones. This new legislation is modeled after that law.

Under current New Jersey law there is no presumption of prison time for anyone convicted of recruiting on school property.

Sacco explains that under his bill, “If you recruit a minor it’s a second-degree offense. That is hard prison time and if you recruit an adult on school property that’ll be a third-degree which also can presume prison time.”

In New Jersey, crime of the third degree is punishable by three to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. A crime of the second degree is punishable by five to ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $150,000, or both.

“People used to think it (gang activity) was only a problem in the cities, but once the gangs realized that the cities are able to crack down and got a better understanding of it they moved out to the suburbs,” explains Sacco. “Families are less aware of how insidious they are and how they spread and now they’re catching up to where the cities are.”

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