August 02, 2006
Not according to the cops. During the Democratic Committee's public forum on immigration last Thursday night, area resident Mary Daige confronted East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill McGintee, declaring, "[The gang] MS13 is in East Hampton. What are you doing about it?"
The supervisor appeared taken aback by the woman's emphatic assertion. He stated that if it were true, he has every confidence that the town police department will address the situation ably.
A former police officer and detective, McGintee pointed out that over the years there have been a variety of occasions when there were rumblings of gang activities from the likes of the Crips and the Bloods. Immigration and the town's increasing Latino population aren't to blame if there is, indeed, gang activity. But, McGintee said he hadn't received any report from Chief Todd Sarris of such activity.
That's because there's no report to give, Sarris said on Friday. Responding to Daige's comment, Sarris said, "We have absolutely no credible information that would support that statement. If Mrs. Daige has information she would like to impart to us, we'd be happy to look into it."
Sarris reminded that last year, in response to rumors of gang activity, he called upon the Suffolk County Police Department's specialized gang unit. The experts came out and performed an evaluation at the high school as well as in parts of the community. Their analysis revealed no indication of organized gang activity.
The chief allowed that some teens, in a move toward nonconformity that is characteristic of their developmental stage, will mimic gang members. There have been incidents of graffiti in which vandals have emulated tags popular with organized gangs.
In the village Chief Jerry Larsen offered the same opinion. He said there "certainly are" kids who try to mimic gang members, wearing the same style of clothing, for example. His department, too, has heard rumors of gang activity in East Hampton. "We looked in to it, and we can't find anything credible," he said.
"There may be some wannabes out there," Sarris allowed.