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School Budget Cuts Worry Anti-Gang Groups

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By Jonathan Wilson

Law enforcement groups and their non-profit partners in Northern Virginia say the success they've experienced fighting the spread of gangs could be threatened by the tough economic times.

Bob Bermingham, Director of Fairfax's Juvenile Court, says he's proud that his county hasn't had a gang-related homicide in three years.

He credits cooperation between suppression and prevention efforts -- police and non-profit, service providers working together.

He says the economy hasn't had a direct impact on gang prevention efforts, but he does worry.

"The success we're having is because of what we've committed to prevention efforts and what were doing to combat gangs," says Bermingham. "If we back off that, things will change very, very quickly."

Another worry for those working in gang prevention is school district budget trouble. If schools cut extracurricular activities, managers at local non-profits working with at-risk teens, say more students will have time to get into trouble.

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