Wednesday, January 31, 2007

American Gang Crisis Alert: School Recruitment and Response

On January 30, 2007 the North Jersey Regional Crime Prevention Officers Association through the leadership of its President Lt. Patrick Fay of the Hackensack Police Department, in partnership with the Bergen County Sheriffs Department, Jersey City Police Department and Fairleigh Dickinson University, presented Preventing Gang Recruitment in Schools to 175 attendees.

The event, originally to be hosted by Bergen County Sheriff Leo P. McGuire at the Bergen County Jail Amphitheater, was moved to Fairleigh Dickinson University's Petrocelli College Edward Williams Hall due to the overwhelming response. This was clearly indicative of the community concern on the gang crisis as representatives from the schools, community, government and law enforcement mobilized to address the issue.

Police Officer Franklin Maisonet and Detective Ben Wilson of the Jersey City Police Department gang awareness unit gave a compelling presentation on gangs which they stated were inseparable from guns, drugs and violence. In their extraordinary remarks, they stressed the following:
  • Gangs will viciously murder without warning and MS-13 is the most vicious of gangs and will kill anyone for money. Recently, MS-13 murdered an entire family in California, decapitated the victims and posted their heads on four telephone poles of an intersection to instill fear into their rivals. A favorite intimidation tactic of MS-13 is murder with mutilation and amputation as elements of their modus operandi (method of operation).
  • The gang mentality is cultivated at a very young age through reinforced indoctrination. Recently a 2nd grade class with a very organized structure of a gang president, vice president, treasury and sergeant at arms beat up other children for milk money. These children even had rules which had to be memorized and followed.
  • The criteria of super gangs such as MS-13, the Crips, Bloods, DDPs (Dominicans Don't Play) are that they have at least 1,000 or more members, exist in numerous states, network aggressively and have extensive drug distribution capabilities.
  • Unfortunately, the gang culture is growing from approximately 75,000 members fifteen years ago to over two million members nationwide.
  • Gang awareness is critical to prevent school influence and recruitment as well as for personal safety, safety of communities and effective law enforcement response. Educators must have their eyes wide open since recruitment not only takes place in schools but they communicate through school approved posters. A recent "No Child Left Behind" poster showed Latin King hand signals and colors and was circulated and posted through all Jersey City public schools without knowledge of implications from school authorities.
  • Gang glorification takes place through music, magazines, clothing styles and MTV which according to Officer Maisonet, can unfortunately stand at times for "Mutilation of Teenage Values." The song "Gang Banging 101" should be reviewed since it expresses a chronology of American gangs.
  • When different gangs, previously violently competitive such as the Bloods and the Crips form a kinship, it is highly dangerous for their common enemy is law enforcement.
  • Gang members often infiltrate the military where they develop weapons skills. Gangs also infiltrate major American companies where they intimidate, recruit and engage in criminal activity.
  • Gang members often change their colors, signals and use alternate names to confuse their rivals such as 2 gun Harry for Mad Stone Blood, Blazin Billy for Sex, Money, Murder and Freaky Tye for Blood Stone Villain.
  • Children as young as infants are dressed in gang colors and beads and pose for photos with gang symbols and weapons. The years of continual reinforcement of gang protocol in children leads to hard core gang fanaticism.
  • Gangs that previously accepted only other blacks or Hispanics now have an open door policy, a gang version of equal opportunity.
  • Colors, beads, hand signals, graffiti, rituals and protocol are essential to the gang culture and the crossing of the line can easily lead to brutality and death to the perpetrator as well as to family members. Gang leaders have their own security details and assassins who would kill on command and through pre-arranged signals.
  • There is a unity of gang mood developing under the acronym of UGN (United Gang Nation) which would be a deviant collaboration of numerous gangs against law enforcement.
  • Too many individuals in government, corporations and schools are in serious denial of gang problems within their own backyard.
  • Gang members love to "snitch" about competitive gangs which gives savvy law enforcement personnel exceptional intelligence. Female gang members will often "snitch" if romantically betrayed.
  • DDPs (Dominicans Don't Play) are very dangerous on the east coast and have a large share of the drug market due to their partnership with Colombian Cartels.
  • The documentary Bastards of the Party explores the history of the Southern California street gangs from the 1950's through the 1990's. It exposes murder and the barbaric lifestyle of the gangs as well as the staggering casualties of the LA gang wars.
  • Young women, many influenced by the gang culture, are the fastest growing U.S. prison population, a growth of 800% over the last twenty years.
  • The cost of dealing with a juvenile who has to be incarcerated is expressed in NYC stats. It cost $9,739.00 per year to educate a NYC youth and $130,670.00 per year to incarcerate one.
  • Gangs communicate through the internet with sites such as and numerous other sites. Many are them are very computer savvy with creation of sites, profiles and the ability to send a virus to a law enforcement personnel.
  • Graffiti is the newspaper of the streets which marks territory. Law enforcement must be vigilant and READ, REPORT, RECORD and REMOVE.
Schools provide America with the opportunity to prevent gang recruitment and influences. The American school system provides the greatest venue for gang awareness and resistance for youth and also for parents, educators and the community at large. If educators and law enforcement personnel develop an earned trust of the youth in our schools, they will inspire their confidence to work together to address the gang crisis. One of the major enemies of gang prevention is the denial of "not my child" or "not in my school" and leadership, perseverance and education is the antidote to this toxic attitude.


NJ Attorney General
Online Gang Free Community
Click here to visit site
Michigan State University
Gang Resources
Click here to visit site
North Jersey Regional
Ctime Prevention Officers Association
Click here to visit site

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