The TRUTH about Gangs in Lynchburg
Tim Griffin makes claims about gangs and gang activity in Lynchburg. Here is where you can find out the TRUTH.
Claim: Bethany Harrison does not take gang activity in Lynchburg seriously.
The TRUTH: Bethany Harrison has aggressively prosecuted gang members since 2006.
- Bethany is the only candidate who has a proven track record of prosecuting gangs and gang members.
- Bethany has won convictions against numerous gang members, sent them to prison, and gotten them off of our streets.
- Bethany has received specialized training in the prosecution of gang cases.
- Bethany has existing relationships with Lynchburg law enforcement tracking and fighting gangs.
Claim: The Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office ignores gang activity and doesn’t do enough to combat it.
The TRUTH: The Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office takes gangs very seriously.
- The Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has a designated gang prosecutor.
- She is cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney to allow for activity in federal courts against gang members.
- She has specialized training in gang prosecutions.
- As recently as late-2016 the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office filed gang charges against several gang members, obtained convictions and they were sentenced to years in prison. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office worked with federal authorities to bring these gang members before a federal grand jury. They were charged federally as well.
Claim: Tim Griffin has new ideas or a fresh approach to fighting gangs in Lynchburg.
The TRUTH: Tim Griffin has not proposed any new ideas for fighting gangs.
His website has 2 ideas. These ideas Are Already Being Done and Have Been In Place For Years.
- Idea/Plan #1 on his website:
“We will assign a full-time gang prosecutor to assist members of law enforcement and myself in going after gang members. We will follow who the gang members are, whether they have been recently charged with a predicate gang offense and determine whether they should be further charged for gang offenses on a daily basis.”
- The Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office has had a designated gang prosecutor for the past 8 years.
- The Lynchburg Police Department already has a gang intelligence unit which follows known or suspected gang members and tracks whether they have been charged with predicate offenses. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office works with LPD on this already.
- Idea/Plan #2 on his website:
“We will cross designate our gang prosecutors in federal court so that we can seek longer sentences for gang, gun and drug related offenses in U.S. District Court.”
- Lynchburg’s dedicated gang prosecutor is already cross designated in federal court and federal charges are already being brought against Lynchburg gang members.
Claim: Gang Activity is skyrocketing in Lynchburg.
The TRUTH: The Lynchburg Police Department says gang activity has declined in recent years.
- Sgt. Gary Fink with LPD is a Certified Gang Expert and Public Information Officer. He has been interviewed several times recently and each time has stated that gang activity has decreased.
“There are 43 Classified gangs with over 500 known members. With these numbers, Sgt. Gary Fink says criminal gang activity has decreased over the years.” WSLS 10, April 5, 2017 http://www.wsls.com/news/police-lynchburg-seeing-a-drop-in-gang-activity
“Based on the number of [permanent residents] and the number of gang members, it’s a 0.7% involvement in gangs as far as gang members identified, which is really low as far as Lynchburg goes,” Fink said, stating the levels of gang activity have decreased in Lynchburg since the early 2000s.” Lynchburg News & Advance, April 4, 2017 http://www.newsadvance.com/news/local/officials-address-gangs-in-lynchburg-area/article_f9f78cb4-19b1-11e7-8a71-d7a776a0c1e2.html
“Fink added the city’s violent crime rate has dropped over the last five years, along with the overall crime rate.” WDBJ 7 Report, April 5, 2017 http://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Lynchburg-Police-Gang-activity-on-the-decline-locally-despite-recent-murder-418436743.html
Claim: Tim Griffin has the experience needed to fight Lynchburg gangs.
The TRUTH: Tim Griffin is too untested and inexperienced to effectively fight Lynchburg gangs.
- Tim Griffin has been a prosecutor for barely 3 years.
- He has never prosecuted a murder charge as the attorney responsible for the case.
- He has never once mentioned a gang member or gang case that he has prosecuted in his career.
- Tim Griffin was not assigned to the prosecution of the recent gang murder in Bedford County. Bedford’s Commonwealth’s Attorney and Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney are assigned to the case.
- Not even his current or former boss has endorsed his campaign.
*Slogans are not solutions. If you want to fight gangs in Lynchburg you need experienced leadership with a proven track record of successful prosecutions against gangs and gang members.
*Bethany Harrison has prosecuted numerous Lynchburg gang members, proven them guilty in court and sent them to prison for years.
Claim: The Citizens of Lynchburg deserve a Commonwealth’s Attorney with the experience and ability to aggressively and effectively prosecute gang members.
The TRUTH: Absolutely. YES They Do. BETHANY HARRISON is that Commonwealth’s Attorney.