Georgia Officials: Criminals using social media to recruit minors to join gangs
Efforts being made to increase penalties for recruiting minors to join gangs
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Pointing to data that found some criminals have used social media to recruit minors to join gangs, Georgia officials have proposed new laws that would increase penalties for anyone caught recruiting minors to join gangs.
According to the national gang survey, every year since 1996, more kids under the age of 18 have joined gangs. The problems have spiraled out of control and have captured the attention of Georgia lawmakers who hope to create harsher penalties for anyone caught recruiting minors to join a gang.
“I’m looking forward to shepherding it through the process and hopefully, we can get it through as a law,” said Georgia Sen. Bo Hatchett. “The main point that we’re trying to make here, especially with minors recruited into gangs, if you come after our children or come after our communities, we are going to come after you. And I think this bill sends that message.”
According to officials, Senate Bill 44 would require someone to serve a minimum of 5 years if they are caught recruiting anyone. If that person is under 17 years old, the sentence would jump anywhere from 10-25 years.
That sentence could potentially be shortened or even dismissed if that person identifies other leaders or accomplices, officials say.
“We’re seeing more gang activity where gang members, adults, are recruiting children into the gang,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. Carr says it’s a move that will help deter what his office is seeing.
Two years ago, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Gang Task Force investigated 446 gang-related cases across 100 Georgia counties. More than 170 gang members were charged as a result, officials say.
Hudson, who was once in a gang in his early teens, is now the founder of Be Someone, a nonprofit helping steer young people away from a life of crime.
He previously told Atlanta News First that he “realized people judge you based on the moves you make, so what am I teaching? I’m teaching people to make good moves.”
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