Officials note reduced teen gang presence

At a recent Lowell Gang Prevention Conference, Acting Police Superintendent Deborah Friedl said that teenage gang members have become less prominent in the city, but that those who are more active tend to be longtime offenders with lengthy criminal histories. Citing at least six shootings in the city since September, Friedl said her department continues to see more weapons on the street, despite strong efforts to curb gun violence. Police Sergeant Mark LeBlanc added that gangs are exhibiting more structured activity with the goal of making money, rather than demonstrating random acts of violence. The conference was one of 11 held around the state as part of a Safe Neighborhood Program spearheaded by US Attorney Carmen Ortiz.