Thursday, February 01, 2007

Gangs in America: West Coast to East Coast Crisis

According to the FBI, about 30,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs and prison gangs with approximately 800,000 members operate in the United States today. Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal activities which include:
  • fraud
  • extortion
  • prostitution
  • gun trafficking
  • assaults
  • murder
The gang violence is so pervasive in Los Angeles that the FBI has joined L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Police Chief Bill Bratton, County Sheriff Lee Baca and other officials in a collaborative task force addressing the crisis.

Actions of the Task Force include:
  • Joint patrols in shared vehicles by the L.A. police and the sheriffs
  • Enhanced gang intelligence collection
  • Creation of the 20 worst gangs list for targeting
  • Cooperation with neighboring jurisdictions where the violence has spread
  • Vandalism and graffiti crackdowns
  • Injunctions, lawsuits and curfews enforcement
  • Increased surveillance's and investigations
  • Stiffer federal hate crimes and civil rights laws
On the east coast, the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General – Juvenile Justice Commission has a Gang Awareness Guide: Recognize the Signs which states:
"The New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission (JJC) understands that gangs and gang related activities impact every community in our state. The JJC works with schools, community organizations and other law enforcement agencies to combat juvenile street gangs and help young people succeed."
On January 8, 2007, the New Jersey Attorney General announced a reorganization of the Division of Criminal Justice to put a greater emphasis on fighting the growing menace of gang violence. According to Attorney General Stuart Rabner's news release, this reorganization focuses greater resources on top priorities (corruption and gangs) and will allow focusing "to address the growing problem of gang violence to make our streets safer from gangs that traffic in guns and terrorize our communities."

FBI Headline Archives Click here to visit site
NJ Attorney General
Gang Awareness Guide
Click here to visit site
NJ Attorney General
News Release
Click here to visit site

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