DURHAM, N.C. (FinalCall.com) – There’s a national media alert circulating that street gangs are causing a rise in killings, some analysts say similar to 1990 levels.

Newspapers, in particular, are giving prime space to national reports, which state that violent street gangs are at the root of the national spike in violence in most of the medium and large-scale American cities, and small cities with populations of 25,000 or less.

The Justice Department survey said that 87 percent of U.S. cities with populations of at least 100,000 reported problems with gangs.


One such city noted is Durham, N.C., population 187,035, according to the 2000 U.S. Census.

In a telephone interview with The Final Call, Durham’s Mayor William Bell admitted that the city had a gang problem.

“Yes, we have gang activity,” the mayor said. “But we have been bringing everyone to the table to work on solutions.”

He said that his administration wanted to find programs that find alternative lifestyles for young Black males.

“We met with local ministers about a month ago to talk about what we could do to solve the problem,” Mayor Bell said, noting that finding jobs was a priority, and helping families.

“I also learned that the Nation of Islam had brokered a gang truce, and I asked the police chief to find out more,” he added.

“We have an excellent leadership in our Black police chief, Steve Chambers, and we decided that there was something that we cold offer as followers of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in order to assist our police chief,” Muhammad’s Mosque No. 34 F.O.I. Captain Ron Muhammad told The Final Call.

Robert 3X Muhammad, who owns a barber shop, helped find the leaders of the city’s Bloods and Crips, and the Nation held a meeting between the two organizations.

Some of the gang members shared their reasons why they joined the gang; some said they were not looking for a gang, they were looking for a family.

“One of them said that the reason he became a gang member was because he never had a father in his presence and his mother was strugglling with drug addiction from his birth until he was 12 years old,” explained Capt. Ron.

“When he was hungry, it was the brothers who were standing on the corner who fed him and it was the brothers on the corner that was his security. So, he felt obligated as time went on to become a part of the gang family.”

Capt. Ron continued,”Many of the Brothers in the Nation of Islam had similar stories that we could share with the Bloods and Crips, that seemed to turn a light on in their minds that they did have a chance.”

While many of them said that they would stop gang-banging and selling drugs, they also felt that no one would hire them for a 9-5 job, since they were convicted felons.

Minister David Muhammad said he believes that the mayor wants to talk to the Nation of Islam in Durham because the city does not have a solution.

Some police officials have said that there are 3,000 gang members in Durham; others have said up to 5,000. According to Min. David, such misinformation is a part of the problem.

He believes the city needs to rethink its priorities.

“They spend $150 million on renovating buildings, $52 million on a jail and $14 million on a baseball field; and the Black youth are not included in the labor force. There has also been a program of tearing down Black communities, which has caused serious disenfranchisement of our families,” he further observed, pointing out that Black non-profit groups that want to work in the community cannot get minimum funding.

Nevertheless, Min. David shared that gang members have repeatedly told them that what keeps them coming to the Nation of Islam is their respect for Minister Farrakhan’s teachings on peace and stopping the violence.