Winston-Salem park covered with gang-related graffiti, four charged

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The quick arrest of the four people for allegedly spray painting gang graffiti on rocks, a picnic area and a basketball backboard at a Winston-Salem park is a sign that the police department's gang unit continues to take the matter seriously, eight years after the department's gang unit launched.

Two adults and two teens were arrested Thursday and charged with vandalism. The damage was estimated to be more than $1,000.

Police said Jose Manuel Campos, 20, and Luis Antonio Rosado Jr., 22, along with a pair of 16 year olds, were part of Autumn Oaks Surenos and Flores 13 gangs. All the suspects were arrested at a home in the 700 block of Clemmonsville Circle.

"I wouldn't say that we have a growing gang problem in Winston-Salem but we are doing a better job of identifying gang activity," said Sgt. JS Doss, who oversees the gang unit.

The Winston-Salem City Council mandated a gang unit within the police department eight years ago. That was after several years of looking into gang related violence and how it affected the community.

Another part of that effort is the Center for Community Safety at Winston-Salem State University.

"Looking at, how do we intervene and get youth out of gangs that want to get out? And then how do we prevent others from joining gangs?" asked Alvin Atkinson, executive director of the program.

According to Atkinson, the latest numbers from September show 126 validated gang members. More than 700 validated gang members have been identified since the gang unit began in 2006.

Atkinson commends the work done by the gang unit for keeping gang related issues at bay in Winston-Salem for the last several years. He calls most of the crime tied to gangs, like vandalism, minor but knows that gang members can have a major impact on youth and the community.

The Center for Community Safety has launched a pilot program in schools, encouraging kids to avoid gangs but we found one 14-year-old playing at the park on Tyler Drive who said she still feels scared at school.

"They get in lots of fights," said Katzumi Rodriguez. "I try and stay away from it but it's all over my school."

Rodriguez said she didn't notice the graffiti until Thursday and has never considered the park a scary place to be.

"I haven't seen gangs," said Rodriguez. "I've seen kids out and playing."

Atkinson hopes the graffiti doesn't change that.

"For us, it's a matter of trying to reach out to the broader neighborhood and really reach out to youth who may not be in that gang to not look at that as something to be admired or championed," said Atkinson.


    • Mike

      Do your math, stupid. What you put on here equates to 83 hours of work; two weeks worth!!
      Post your fake articles somewhere else.

  • FaithC

    People like this could care less what they make their environment look like. Who will stop them or complain? Winston has a huge Hispanic gang problem and do very little about it.

    • dewey

      and Fox 8 as a YOU problem…you can say your aren’t racist Faith….but you have proven it today…not a single word about the Du Pont moneybag who molested his 3 year old or the old daughter…or the little old man/lady who ripped of evidence from the KPD

      • FaithC

        Have no idea what you are talking about and saying Winston has a Hispanic gang problem is the truth.

        “Jose Manuel Campos, 20, Luis Antonio Rosado Jr., 22, and two minors were arrested”

        Don’t tell me these two do not belong to a Hispanic gang. It is people like you who are afraid to deal with the truth. Winston has had a steady increase in gang violence for years.

      • dewey

        @ faith….are you saying the crime of graffiti is soooooo much worse than the molestation of not one but 2 kids, cause that’s what you said in the comments of another article ….2006 you belong to a gang….a gang of idiots…be great if we could deport you and your ilk

    • JT

      Glad you know the legal status of these individuals, or is this just more of your racist, xenophobic bull?

      • FaithC

        You are clueless about the gang problem in Winston if you don’t think most of the members are not illegal.
        I attended a meeting back in 2006 about the rising gang problem in Winston. It was run by the police and they said more than 80% of the gangs were Hispanic gangs and most members have illegal status. Do some research.

      • dewey

        @ Faith…..yeah, because the police are your friends and they ALWAYS tell the truth…..I’m black, does that make me a gang member….I have a Mexican who lives across the street….is he illegal or in a gang…you seem to have a crystal ball when it comes to these things

  • Rogue

    This is their “Freedom Of Expression”. Get used to it, This is starting to show up every where nowadays.

  • Another Job Americans Won't Do

    This is a prime example on why I stopped contributing to non-profit organizations. NC law probitis them from reporting illegals to authorities. I love to give, but not to criminals who disregard federal laws, damage public property, disrespect neighborhood culture, and come looking for handouts.

  • Mike

    People get in to gangs because alone, they are cowards.
    If you don’t believe me, get one alone and start beatin’ on him. He will cry like the sissy girl he is.


    I induct each and everyone of you who posted here into my gang…The (Internet 123 Gang). If the only issue they are having is a few pieces of urban art, then there is NO gang problem. There’s a bunch of old a** men selling little boys pipe dreams…Gang Toons SERIOUSLY???

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