OpinionEditorial Long Island’s fight against MS-13 needs multifaceted plan This problem won’t disappear overnight. The consistent, multipronged approach Cuomo is helping establish is the best way forward. Flanked by State Sen. John Flanagan, left, and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced anti-gang approaches in September 2017. Photo Credit: James Carbone By The Editorial Board December 18, 2017 6:12 PM Print Share Share Tweet Share Email The solution has to start with understanding the depth and complexity of a problem that so many of us find unthinkable: There are young men on Long Island so intimidated, disconnected, scared, confused or alone that joining a murderous street gang like MS-13 seems reasonable to them. Playing the long game in trying to solve that problem, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo will ask state lawmakers to approve $11.5 million to thwart gang recruitment by creating after-school programs and increasing vocational training and education initiatives. The announcement last week is part of Cuomo’s preview of issues he’ll discuss in his State of the State speech in January. At a time when violent crime on Long Island is historically low in most communities, police have linked 11 killings in Brentwood and Islip in the past 15 months to MS-13. The gang recruits young men from Central America, many of whom came here as unaccompanied minors and lack the local family and support structures that should help them steer clear. The first priority in dealing with violent gangs must always be enforcing the law. Putting gang members behind bars for a long time can make the streets safer for awhile and make gang life less attractive. But this occurs mostly after MS-13’s atrocities are committed. We also need to prevent them. Recent studies in Virginia and California found the kind of interventions Cuomo proposes, aimed at those 11 to 15 years old, reduced gang recruitment and trouble. That’s because they can help provide kids with the structure and support they find in gangs. This problem won’t disappear overnight. The consistent, multipronged approach Cuomo is helping establish is the best way forward. — The editorial board By The Editorial Board Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Sign up for The PointThe Point is Newsday Editorial Board's new daily newsletter taking you behind closed doors into the New York political scene. A must-read for those who want exclusive insights into local, city and state politics and policy. Don't miss The Point. Sign up now. Davies' latest cartoonSee Matt Davies' latest Newsday cartoon by clicking above. Jimmy Margulies cartoonsMargulies is an award-winning editorial cartoonist. Submit your letter Comments Comments section is temporarily on hold. Here’s why.