EASTERN CAROLINA - NewsChannel 12 rode along with Greenville Police on a recent patrol through known gang hot spots. Officer E. Robinson said gang members live all over the city but can often be found in west Greenville -- off West Fifth Street and near Pitt and Brown Streets, among other locations.
Robinson said the known gangs include Bloods, Crips and West Fifth Street Boys. Police say they are often connected to crimes in the city.
"Most drug dealers and gang members now are doing break-ins," Robinson said, "because they say they could make more money doing a break-in than they could selling drugs."
Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden agreed that gang members are responsible for various crimes in Greenville.
"Anything from thefts to homicide," Chief Aden said. "It's a criminal enterprise geared toward making money. So any way that they can through illicit drug trafficking, selling stolen property, robberies."
Police recently launched a crackdown on violent offenders, and investigators said many of the suspects are gang members.
Joyce Johnson's 36-year-old son, Anthony "Breeze" Johnson, was killed in what police call a gang-related shooting and robbery in Greenville's West Pointe neighborhood.
"That's sad. That's the only way they can be picked up is if they do a crime," Joyce Johnson said. "They really need to be caught because they're going 'round and they're hurting innocent people for nothing."
Family members say Breeze, a native of Tarboro, moved to Greenville three months before he was gunned down.
His murder Jan. 2 -- and a series of crimes just two weeks before it -- sparked the Greenville Police crackdown on violent offenders. The law enforcement effort included additional manpower and patrols.
Investigators arrested Jahrheel May, 16, who's charged with Breeze's murder.