- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2005

Virginia Gov. Mark Warner yesterday announced that police departments in 22 state jurisdictions — including Fairfax County — will share $3 million in federal anti-gang funds.

“The problem of gangs is an issue in communities large and small, and one that requires the participation of law enforcement, government and community organizations at every level,” he said.

The governor’s announcement came one day after Fairfax County police reported that a 24-year-old Fairfax man was seriously wounded by machete-wielding gang members Monday night. The man lost three fingers, had deep wounds to his back and head, and was in serious condition at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

No arrests have been made in the case, and Fairfax police have not said if the gangs involved are the same gangs involved in a similar machete incident in Alexandria in May.

“As proven by the machete attack in Northern Virginia earlier this week, gang violence is a growing problem in Virginia, but it is also something we can overcome if we continue to work together,” said Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, who has included anti-gang initiatives in his legislative proposals to the General Assembly this year.

The allocation of funds is “sending the message that gangs are not welcome in our neighborhoods,” Mr. Kilgore said.

The Fairfax County Gang Prevention Council will receive $150,000 in federal funds to “implement research-based intervention and law-enforcement strategies,” the Warner administration announced yesterday.

The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office received $85,000 for “increasing intelligence gathering, gang member identification, information sharing.”

Other recipients include:

• The sheriff’s department in Rockingham County, which includes the city of Harrisonburg — $200,000 for the increase of “anti-gang law enforcement.”

• The Richmond Police Department — $120,000 to provide “prevention and intervention efforts to at-risk youth.”

• The Richmond City Sheriff’s Department — $50,000 to create a gang intelligence unit.

The funds will be available from the U.S. Department of Justice by July, but hopefully sooner, said Robert Crouch, the state’s deputy secretary of public safety.

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