Concerns about possible gang activity - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Concerns about possible gang activity

Michael Anderson, a gang leader who once terrorized Central City, will now spend the rest of his life in prison. He pleaded guilty to drugs, murder and racketeering charges.

"I think this case tells us a lot. It tells us just how prevalent and serious the gang problem is in New Orleans," says U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

Letten and his federal investigators along with the NOPD, worked on this case for years.

While Anderson's gang was disbanded, Letten admits there are so many other gangs out there.

"These guys have no idea what they're doing. These guys are from the Byrd gang, the 3NG and there's even a gang back here," says Ameer Baraka.

Baraka grew up in the B.W. Cooper Housing Development and once participated in the crime that surrounded his neighborhood. Since changing his life, Baraka returned to mentor the people of his old community.

Baraka says the gang activity is heating up.

"There was a shooting back here last week around 8 in the morning. There were gangs beefing with each other. They drove up right here and opened fire," says Baraka.

People who live in the housing development say the gunfire is constant.

Criminologist Peter Scharf says he isn't surprised by the uptick in gang activity and he believes the organized groups are responsible for a lot of the violent crime.

"You knock one competitor off and you get three more gangs, sometimes more sophisticated," says Scharf.

"I don't' want to see these young men go to jail for the rest of their lives, but unfortunately if you want to be in a gang, then Mr. Letten is going to have to do his job," says Baraka.

Baraka is frustrated and he believes it will take more federal investigations to make a difference.

Letten, along with the NOPD, vows to continue its efforts to target the gang members.

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