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Activists: Lack of jobs to blame for Newburgh's drug, gang troublesPosted: Updated:
Activists in Newburgh are calling for change one day after authorities took down 16 alleged gang members accused of drug trafficking.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says 16 people were charged Tuesday for allegedly conspiring to buy and sell drugs in the state. Police also recovered illegal guns and $36,000 in cash. Officials say the suspects, including an alleged ringleader known as "Toto," were part of the "600 Gang."
The city of Newburgh has been plagued by a trifecta of drugs, poverty and gang violence. Activist says the real problem is lack of jobs, which is turning impoverished people back to the street.
"Right now we're trying to find jobs for our children," says Shakur. "We're not trying to find jail."
City Manager Michael Ciaravino says crackdowns are why crime rates have hit all-time lows.
"At the end of the day, nobody wants to share their neighborhood with a handful of bullies who want to run and pollute the neighborhood with drugs," says Ciaravino.
Shakur says he knew most of the kids arrested. He says they were looking for work and a way to survive.
City officials recognize the need for more resources in Newburgh. A new job center recently opened in the heart of the city as a way to help with the problem.