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Police chiefs: It’s time for your education on gangs

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HOPEWELL, Va. (WTVR) – Two area police chiefs are taking new steps to crack down on gangs in their communities.

Hopewell Police Chief John Keohane said some gang graffiti is visible around town if you know where to look for it.

For area law enforcement, the days of not admitting gangs are present in some neighborhoods are over.

"All too often, we hear, I didn't know, and this is what this is about, is to educate our citizens," Prince George County Police Chief Ed Frankenstein said. "We've seen the neighborhood types of groups that have come about."

A forum this Saturday at Hopewell High School geared toward parents, church groups and community leaders aims to educate the community.

Hopewell law enforcement said the education hits close to home because they believe a possible gang initiation was captured on camera last year.

Keohane said investigators think a 15-year-old was targeted and recruited by a gang to commit armed robbery. Additionally, a half-dozen people arrested last month on drug charges were also linked to gangs.

"The tattoos tell stories, that they were involved in some, recognizable gang tattoos… to be part of a gang," said Keohane.

While police said gang activity in the Tri-Cities may be small compared to other areas of the state or the nation, there are still signs to be on the lookout for where you live.

"Technically when they wear the CK, it stand for Crip Killers, so it's going to be a Blood," said Keohane. "There are so many designer hats out there now in the community that stand for certain things."

Police ask parents to be vigilant and learn to recognize gang signs that could signal a call for help from their children. The chiefs said that if you think your children may be involved in a gang, contact police immediately for help.