Woodbridge Pastor Charles Lundy knows how to keep kids busy and out of trouble in their spare time.
His knowledge may be part of the reason he was selected to be a part of state Attorney General Jerry Kilgore’s newly formed anti-gang task force.
The head of Telegraph Road’s Ebeneezer Baptist Church has worked to offer a host of activities for kids in Ebeneezer’s youth ministry — something he says keeps young people out of trouble.
The task force is poised to develop initiatives to fight what Kilgore says is statewide gang-related crime growth.
“We have seen terrible examples of gang violence in Virginia over the past year,” Kilgore said in a release. “This is clearly a growing problem, and one that has spread from urban areas into more rural areas and smaller cities where you would not normally expect gang activity to surface.”
Lundy was contacted two weeks ago and asked to be part of the task force, along with 23 other people and an advisory committee of nine people. The task force is made up of people in law enforcement, education, religion and other fields.
Lundy served on a similar task force developed by former Attorney General Mark Earley. If Kilgore runs his Aug. 5 meeting like the previous ones of the previous task force, Lundy will make recommendations on how communities can keep teens occupied.
“I want to involve community organizations as an alternative to gangs and violence,” Lundy said. He believes the group’s “main task will be to come up with some alternatives.”
Basketball tournaments, camps, roller skating, step-aerobics teams and other activities keep people out of trouble, Lundy said. Such activities provide a support structure that can keep young people out of trouble, Lundy said.
“All of those kinds of things are an alternative for youth looking for gang acceptance. Those are some of the recommendations I will make,” he said.
The task force will look for ways to identify gangs. Lundy and Kilgore’s office said doing so is difficult because of the distinct and sometimes secretive markings of various gangs.
According to Kilgore’s release, the task force will:
— Consider increased penalties for gang participation.
— Analyze state laws, to determine if changes need to be made related to gangs.
— Determine how to develop educational programs.
— Work with local communities to better respond to gang activity.
— Improve Virginia’s automated gang data tracking system.