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While some want to keep it quiet and not admit there is a gang problem, the fact is there are thousands of MS-13 gang members in Northern Virginia — and the violence and killing are on the rise.

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (VA-10) is fighting back.

Congresswoman Barbara Comstock recently introduced H.R. 3249 the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act, legislation that will “establish a grant program to provide resources to state and local entities to curb the rise in gang activity and violence.  This legislation authorizes $70 million annually for FY2018 through FY2022.  Twenty percent of the authorized $70 million will go directly to already-established gang task forces, like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force, who are experiencing elevated transnational gang activity from gangs such as MS-13.”

This is in addition to what Comstock was able to secure in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act calling on the Department of Justice to prioritize grant funding for exisiting Regional Gang Task Forces, like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.

Jay Lanham, Executive Director of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force said of Congresswoman Comstock’s legislation:

“On behalf of the Northern Virginia Police Chiefs, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude for Congresswoman Comstock’s support of the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force. Criminal gangs pose a serious threat to our communities and financial support is immediately needed to address their illegal activities.  In order to continue to proactively address the mobile and changing nature of gang violence and crime, the Task Force and its member jurisdictions urgently need this funding to address the violent street gangs that are present in the Northern Virginia Region through suppression, intervention and prevention efforts.”

Comstock upon introduction of H.R. 3249 the Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act added:

“The Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force works in many communities throughout our region by direct engaging in enforcement, prevention, and educational programs to keep our communities safe from gangs. The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act will help steer federal funding toward frontline regional gang task forces like the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force.  Recently, I went on a ride-along with the Northern Virginia Regional Gang Task Force where I saw firsthand the MS-13 gang problem in our community.  In just one night, the Task Force removed three suspected MS-13 gang members off of the streets.  There is an estimated 4,000 gang members from MS-13 and other gangs in the Northern Virginia region.  Over the last six months, at least eight murders have been committed and tied to MS-13 and other gangs, representing a 166% increase over last year.  The Project Safe Neighborhoods Grant Program Authorization Act will provide vital resources to established regional gang task forces like the one we have here in Northern Virginia so that these brave men and women can get MS-13 off of our streets.”

MS-13 was recently the focus of a March 2017 double murder in Fairfax County, Virginia, a condition Fairfax’s police chief stated was “out of control” and in direct need of community focus.