An Editor’s Note published July 12, 2017, about Kevin Deutsch’s reporting appears at the end of this story.A North Bellport street gang that calls itself the "Natural Born Killers" is recruiting children as young as 9 years old to join the group, said residents and the head of the Suffolk County Legislature's public safety committee."It's like future gangsters in training." Suffolk Legis. kids are not able to walk in their own neighborhood without being attacked." Street gangs have long used threats and the promise of protection to entice new members, but the recruitment of young children in North Bellport represents an intimidating new step for gangs in the area, Browning and concerned residents say.Kate Browning, the public safety panel chairwoman who also represents the area, said the gang's recruitment of children is disturbing. The recently reported trend in North Bellport -- where the Bloods street gang also is active -- has disturbed the community and its leaders. "They think this is a family for them, but it's the wrong kind of family." Gangs targeting schools Malik Preston, 16, who with his mother, Patrice, attended a June community meeting in North Bellport called to address the gang issue, said he was recently punched and slapped by three gang members. "They hit me because I told them I wouldn't join" the gang, said Malik, who spoke with Newsday about the incident with his mother.It makes it worse if people in big gangs wear hoodies because it looks dodgy.People should stop assuming that walking around in groups is bad because mostly the reason people are in groups is because they want to be protected from the other gangs who are intimidating and rude.It usually just means a group of friends so what's the problem with that if they don't harm you?I think that being in a small gang is a good thing because the other people will feel safe - four or five people are best.
But in general, gangs recruit most heavily in and around schools, National Crime Prevention Council experts said. Unfortunately this topic is now closed but there are Comments pages on other subjects on the main Chat index.Me and my friends don't hang around in a gang, we just go out and shop and go to each others houses.He did say that in general, well-organized gangs often engage in drug trafficking, drug dealing and gun violence.