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Cities across the country are grappling with huge spikes in gangs and gang related violence. Chicago, Charlotte and even smaller size communities, such as Asbury Park and Neptune, New Jersey are experiencing such an escalation in gang related shootings that officials are scrambling to quell the violence.

Charlotte, North Carolina is said to have over 100 street gangs – although some officials put that figure at between 20-30.  In New Jersey, it’s estimated that 244 street gangs with membership exceeding 17,000 are exacting a bloody toll on a host of cities and towns. The nation is now at a critical juncture in its approach to gang violence.

Communities impacted by gangs want a more radical approach. It remains to be seen if these communities embrace more drastic measures, such as making gangs and gang membership illegal.

There are a number of efforts underway to quell the scourge of gang violence. John Muhammad of the Nation of Islam is perhaps one of the most visible leaders on the front lines in his home towns of Asbury Park and Neptune New Jersey.  He’s deeply entrenched in this fight with a host of church leaders, local officials and residents. ‘COMMUNITY VOICES’ host, Ron Holland, talked with John Muhammad about his efforts to stamp out the violence.