Activists: Lack of jobs to blame for Newburgh's drug, gang troubles

Posted: Updated:
NEWBURGH -

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.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."