Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Local Mayor Fears Spill-Over Of Immigrant Violence

Lawrenceville, GA
Just weeks after the the city of Snellville began to impose legal restrictions to quell gang violence resulting from the large influx of immigrants and minorities flooding into Gwinnett County, the mayor of a nearby city is afraid that the perpetrators of these violent crimes will migrate to his city after being ran out of Snellville.

Rex Millsaps, mayor of Lawrenceville, GA called for a meeting to discuss enacting laws similar to the anti-gang laws that were recently set forth in the neighboring community of Snellville, which now regulates minority housing in a effort to stop gangs of immigrants from further terrorizing the area. Millsaps hopes to have the laws in place before the summer.


Lawrenceville Mayor Rex Millsaps has called a special council meeting Wednesday to speed up enacting a proposed law to uproot gang members and stop others from setting up house.

The mayor was inspired by the passage of a law in Snellville this month that makes gang activity on a piece of property a code violation and allows the city to force landlords to evict gang members.

"When they displace them, I don't want them landing in Lawrenceville," Millsaps said.

The mayor wants the new law passed before summer when school-age gang members will have even more time on their hands. The law requires proposed laws to have a public reading at one council meeting before being voted on at a subsequent monthly meeting.

Gwinnett, like much of the suburbs, has seen a growth in criminal and teenage gangs, many of which have migrated here from other states, Central America and Mexico.

"Our police chief started seeing gang activity six months ago, and he was concerned because he had no way to get at these people," Snellville Mayor Jerry Oberholtzer said. "A lot of these landlords will rent to anyone who can come up with a deposit."

The Snellville law, on which the proposed Lawrenceville law is based, allows landlords to streamline eviction in civil court if at least three gang members are living together. Evidence to show they're gang members include gang paraphernalia, tattoos, graffiti and gang-related arrests.

"We can declare that a nuisance," Oberholtzer said.

The Snellville law arose from a case involving four brothers who were suspected of a being gang members and arrested in an investigation involving burglary, statutory rape and holding a teenage girl against her will. The family, who was evicted, has denied the charges. They had moved to Snellville after being evicted in another county, police said.

The Lawrenceville meeting is at 3 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall.

Controlled media article:

Lawrenceville Mayor Takes Que From Snellville Gang Law

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