Those privileged to live in an area free, or almost so, of criminal or violent gangs, need to count their blessings. Gangs are numerous and widespread in the U.S and create a severe problem for our law enforcement agencies. The FBI recently issued their 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment (NGTA) which should concern all law abiding citizens. The numbers are staggering and the projected increase does little to calm us. The assessment is of considerable length so this article is merely a general gist of some areas of it. Also, the FBI advises us that the numbers given in many cases are estimates and, due to their nature, could be noticeably inaccurate. They are results from the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) and the National Gang Intelligence Center (NGIC).
These various gangs are categorized as:
Street Gangs which consist of organized criminals who operate throughout the Nation.
Prison Gangs which are described in the NTGA as: “Prison gangs are criminal organizations that originated within the penal system and operate within correctional facilities throughout the United States, although released members may be operating on the street. Prison gangs are also self-perpetuating criminal entities that can continue their criminal operations outside the confines of the penal system.”
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMGs) Also described in the NGTA as: “OMGs are organizations whose members use their motorcycle clubs as conduits for criminal enterprises. Although some law enforcement agencies regard only One Percenters as OMGs, the NGIC, for the purpose of this assessment, covers all OMG criminal organizations, including OMG support and puppet clubs.”
Neighborhood/local Gangs: This category simply refers to the localized groups who have formed and generally remain in the same neighborhoods. They often try and imitate the larger criminal gangs. Although not always, their principle activities are those of drug sales and distribution.
We will present here some numbers and statistics which help to show the extensiveness of this increasing problem.
There are approximately 1.4 million active members of the four categories listed above. That is more than our stateside military count and far more than most countries military force. These members comprise some 33,000 gangs!
Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of violent crimes in most areas and up to 90 percent in some of the others.
Gangs are not only growing in numbers but are broadening their areas of activity, getting more and more involved in higher income businesses such as alien smuggling, human trafficking, and prostitution. When you add to this, counterfeiting, identity theft, and mortgage fraud, etc., you begin to see much resemblance to that of olt time organized crime. And, indeed many of their activities are the same. These criminals are costing the taxpayers many dollars in law enforcement expenses and yet are thriving and growing. We do have to give our FBI and the other similar agencies credit for a concerted effort in trying to eliminate them. With their determination and increasing technology, there should progress along these lines in the not too distant future.
For a very lengthy and detailed report on these criminal activities and the government’s expanding efforts to control them, Click Here.