by NAFEESA SYEED, The Associated Press 2009-06-01 18:36:00.0
ROCKVILLE, Md. - State prosecutors have improved their tracking of gang-related cases in Montgomery County, with the number of prosecutions reaching about 1,000 defendants in the last two years, county leaders said Monday.
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said that since his office created a gang prosecution unit in 2007, prosecutors have worked with law enforcement agencies to boost efforts to identify offenders who belong to gangs. McCarthy said his office only prosecuted 77 such cases in 2006.
"This does not mean that gang activity has drastically increased," McCarthy said. "Rather, what it means is that we have improved our ability to identify known gang members when they commit crimes and when they go through the criminal justice system."
McCarthy said prosecutors are identifying gang members at a higher rate because they work with police and corrections officers to pin down criminals' affiliations.
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