Senator Joseph Griffo is joining the State Senate in passing legislation that would help crack down on the rise of gang violence in New York.

Griffo says the legislation would stiffen penalties on gang-related crimes and create a gang prevention fund.  It would also focus on gang violence prevention in schools.

The Criminal Street Gang Enforcement Act would -- for the first time -- legally define criminal street gangs in New York's penal law, giving prosecutors more options when charging offenders.

There is no single solution that can defeat the violent gangs that inflict terror and tragedy on so many of the communities across New York State,” said Griffo.  “While severe penalties will keep more gang members behind bars and off the streets, our neighborhoods will never be rid of gang activity until we fundamentally change the culture and mindset that allows our youths to find gangs acceptable in the first place.

The bill now goes to the Assembly.