New approach to gang violence on LI

March 23, 2010 2:41:11 PM PDT
There is a new approach to cracking down on gangs on Long Island. Random police checkpoints are being held in several high crime neighborhoods.

He was just fifteen years old, but Christopher Hamilton is just one of a growing number of teenagers gunned down, in towns like Brentwood.

"He was murdered," Erica Boyton said. "How can you just stand somewhere in the dark and pull the trigger on a 15 year old?"

Christopher's mom isn't the only one asking that question. Police say gang-related violence has skyrocketed in central Suffolk County.

"I think it's the youth. I think when you start to see it affecting young people, young people's hearts become more in tune with what's going on," Devon Daniel of the Boys and Girls Club of Suffolk County said.

And now, police have responded with a new plan fight the growing crime Brentwood, Central Islip, Huntington Station and Wyandanch.

"We think that over time we'll be able to bring calm to the communities," Police Commissioner Richard Dormer said.

Dormer says his officers will man random checkpoints at random times using high-tech license plate readers to hunt for motorists with active warrants.

Cops will also man foot posts and crack down on quality of life issues such as graffiti.

"I've been in Brentwood for 10-13 years. I've seen this community die," community activist Lenny Tucker said.

Tucker is dubious those checkpoints will make much of a dent. The crime so overwhelming, he says, it's unsafe even to leave your own home.

"I'm ashamed. I'm ashamed to live out here right now. My friends I tell them where I live, they look and me and go woo, be careful," he said.