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29200: Hermantin(News)Police Urge Parents to help stop gangs (fwd)

From: leonie hermantin <lhermantin@hotmail.com>

Police urge parents to help stop gangs

By Jerome Burdi
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

September 17, 2006

One of the Haitian gangs' most vital tools is their stealth -- especially with their parents.

Unlike other gangs that are proud to be a part of their outlaw family, the San Castle Soldiers and B-Town Boys don't admit to the dirty deeds they do, Sheriff's Office Lt. Michael Wallace said.

"The reality is these kids are going to school and they're going to work, but you have to watch," Wallace said.

Wallace joined representatives from Delray Beach and Boynton Beach police in a panel discussion Saturday afternoon on a Haitian radio special on WPBR, AM 1340.

It was the second and last installment where host Philippe "Bob" Louis-Jeune, director of Haitian Citizen United Taskforce, invited police to discuss the problems involving the Haitian and Haitian-American gangs. The first week hosted Lantana and Lake Worth police.

"The parents call me over the radio all the time and say, `What can we do?'" Louis-Jeune said.

He said when parents discover their children are in a gang, they don't know how to get them out. Louis-Jeune said Haitian-American children keep falling into gangs from lack of guidance.

"There's so many parents working two jobs they don't have time to take care of their kids," he said.

Wallace said parents should be watchful over their children, especially what Web sites they visit.

The gangs have a big presence on the Web site Myspace.com, where their golden teeth glimmer, their guns are cocked and an R.I.P. memorial stands for a member who died in a car crash after he committed a drive-by shooting, police said.

"We notice there's a big denial factor" among parents, said Boynton Beach Officer Widy Jean. "My advice is parents should be a hawk and be involved in their children's personal lives."

The Haitian gangs have been responsible for dozens of drive-by shootings this year, police said, but came into the public spotlight Aug. 15 when a bystander was killed in the 1700 block of Northeast First Street in Boynton Beach.

Franck Joseph, 50, was collecting payment for landscaping work when he was killed by shots from an automatic rifle meant for someone else, police said. His daughter watched him as he lay helpless. He died at Delray Medical Center.

"There's no glory in killing a 50-year-old man in front of his daughter," Wallace said.

"We are going to do everything possible to start dismantling these gangs."

Jerome Burdi can be reached at jjburdi@sun-sentinel.com or 561-243-6531.

Copyright  2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel