Gangs of New York: Where street crews rule, boys have few option - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Gangs of New York: Where street crews rule, boys have few options

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The gun-toting teen shot by police over the weekend grew up in a gang-infested neighborhood in the Morrisania section of the Bronx where law-abiding families live in constant fear. Even if young boys try to avoid trouble, it comes looking for them.

At first glance, everything looks calm and ordinary in this community. But under the surface, the threat for boys as young as 9 or 10 from gangs and criminal crews pressuring them to join is constant.

One boy, whose identity Fox 5 is protecting, said they have no choice but to join a gang. He said he tries to stay busy and off the streets at night when the gangs are out and hunting for new members. He said most boys don't choose to join a gang, but if they don't, they and their families suffer consequences. He said gangs have ransacked the apartments of reluctant recruits.

The positive options for the boys here are few, but they do exist. Some attend the Eagle Academy, which prepares them for college and careers instead of a jail cell. Founder David Banks said intervention and education has to begin very early on.

Parents who succeed in keeping their sons out of trouble know it requires constant vigilance.

The boy we spoke with said he is hoping to graduate high school, go to college, and stay off the radar of the criminal element he says rules this area.

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