Gang crackdown in Salem

SALEM, N.J. - October 8, 2008 - That's especially true in the case of Salem, New Jersey.

It's where police announced the results of a crackdown on street gangs Wednesday.

New Jersey authorities say they've arrested 48 alleged gang members in a sweep that took place on Tuesday.

In all, more than 200 people have been locked up over the last four months since the crackdown on gang-related crimes started in Salem County.

"I love Salem County and that's why I brought my kids here to be raised, but I'm like in little Camden," said Charlene Brown.

"I could take this group of people to several streets in Salem city and you wouldn't know if you were in Salem or if you were in Camden," said Salem County Prosecutor John Lenahan.

Cpl. Leon Daniels didn't need to attend Wednesday's news conference to learn that.

He patrols the toughest streets in Salem, all part of a statewide initiative that targets gangs, guns and violent crime.

"We concentrate on these streets most because these are problems areas, high crime areas," said Anne Milgram, New Jersey Attorney General.

With a population of just 5,500 people, few expect gangs to be a big problem in Salem.

But, it's no surprise to residents.

"They don't have anything else to do around here," said Cora Richardson. "There's really no programs for the children." "There's a lot of activity going around, innocent people getting shot right and left," said Jerome Brown. "I just wish everything could stop and be peaceful."

It's that wishful thinking that drives police to continue the crackdown.

That, and innocent people living in Salem.

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