Merchants Association meets with authorities over gang problem

Posted by Colby Rogers - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Retail Merchants Association met with the Attorney General's office and local law enforcement to discuss the growing problem of local gangs.

From the cities to outlying areas, officials say the gang problem is growing. It's now gaining the attention of business owners who want to be proactive in keeping their communities safe.

Partnering with local law enforcement from across the metro area, the Attorney General's office is urging the business community to be vigilant. Officials say gangs can be a serious threat to businesses, jeopardizing the safety of employees or even limiting financial expansion.

The flyer for Tuesday's meeting came across Jean Berhardt's desk and immediately caught her attention. She's the owner of Bernhardt and Taylor Cabinetry, a long-established shop in Chesterfield County.

Berhardt says she's never seen any signs of gang activity outside her shop - which worries her the most.

"That's the scary part - I haven't seen anything," Berhardt said. "And if I haven't seen anything, I may not be noticing something and they say it's here."

Officials urge business owners to learn about the warning signs of gang activity - gang-related beads, clothing, hand signs and graffiti. They also ask that business owners report any suspicious activity to the proper authorities.

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