Horry County Police Gang Investigator: Gang violence can stop th - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Horry County Police Gang Investigator: Gang violence can stop through education

Sgt. Lynn Baker said the walls and fences covered with graffiti and gang symbols is what she uses to to educate the community about gangs; she is also working to try to find those responsible. Sgt. Lynn Baker said the walls and fences covered with graffiti and gang symbols is what she uses to to educate the community about gangs; she is also working to try to find those responsible.
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) Community leaders are working with the Horry County Police Department to prevent crime and wipe out gang violence.  The Horry County Gang Investigator said prevention can happen with education. 


Sgt. Lynn Baker has been the Gang Investigator for Horry County Police for three years. Baker said gangs are becoming a growing problem in the county. 

Wednesday afternoon, Baker took WMBF around several communities to show first-hand the rise in gang activity that was literally the "writing on the wall."  Baker said the walls and fences covered with graffiti and gang symbols is what she uses to to educate the community about gangs; she is also working to try to find those responsible. 

Pointing to a wooded fence Baker identifies gang graffiti, she said, "Crips wrote up here, if you come on down, you can see where some of the boards where the homeowners have already replaced it, here your pitch fork, the Fork Nation, and your G's for your gangsters - they started doing a pointed star there."

Baker said the graffiti is a way for gang members to mark their territory in a turf war; it's a way to send out message to other gangs. "All together with motorcycles, hate groups, and our Hispanic groups, it's been about over 50 groups or sets and at least 1,500 gangs have been documented in this county," Baker explained. 

It is why Baker says she works on education and awareness, she is partnering with local organizations like the ELITE Youth Program, a mentoring program based out of Conway that educates young people and parents about gang life and tries to deter the lifestyle by offering an outlet.

Gerald Hare is part of the ELITE Youth Program, and together Baker and he have organized classes to teach kids and parents about 
recognizing the gang signs.

"What we're trying to do, we're trying to offer a solution, an answer - not just identify gang members, but offer a solution, an answer on how to get out of the gang and how to find something other than a gang," said Hare.

Proof of the program's success is with Jhatan Lewis, 17, a young man once headed in the wrong direction. He started with ELITE program and is now helping others.

Lewis said, "There's no other feeling when others see a change in you, and you know that you are constantly changing every day to help better yourself and you just want to attract others to want to hop on the train with you."

According to Baker, about 64 percent of juveniles in the DJJ juvenile system in South Carolina have already admitted to some kind of gang involvement.

"It is sad when most of the kids I am seeing don't make it past the age of 23 before they are being buried and they are being buried with their gang signs at their funerals," said Baker.

Sgt. Baker said she is willing to come to any youth group, community program, and organization to talk about the signs of gang activity. Anyone interested in being a part of the gang prevention or would like to have more information from Sgt. Lynn Baker can contact the Horry County Police Department. 

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