Politicians promises to crack down on gang activity may always sound good during campaigns, but some of Georgia’s gang investigators say Georgia is indeed experiencing an increase in gang violence and public officials are refusing to acknowledge it.
Every week there is another violent crime, another drug bust, another drive-by shooting, another murder.
But determining whether there is actually a crisis is no simple task. Official gang data is incomplete.
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Currently, there are 145 documented gangs active in the city of Atlanta according to the Atlanta Police Department. Juvenile gangs have active members as young as 12 years old, while the second group of gangs mostly consists of core members aged 22-26 years.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields stated that the most dominating active gang citywide is the group Down For Whatever (DFW), operating from their home base on Joseph E. Boone Blvd, former Simpson Street.
Their members head to Buckhead to break into expensiv looking cars and come back with loot such as guns, electronics, and cash.
Chief Shields wants to go harder after the adult gang members and convince prosecutors to press additional gang status charges against the members when they are caught.
Getting the teen members of the juvenile gangs involved in community servie is an opportunity to get them out of the gangs, the chief believes.
Meeting with members of the Citizens Police Review Board
On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, Police Chief Ken Burton said that a recent spike in shootings and home invasions in Columbia can primarily be attributed to gang and drug activity. Burton explained, “We’re talking under 2% of the population engaging” in these behaviors “and they generate 90% of the crime.”
His statements on gun crime were made when he met with eight members of the Citizens Police Review Board on Wednesday to answer their questions. The CPRB is entrusted with reviewing appeals of Burton’s officer conduct decisions and department policies. The Board members had questions about homicides, a noticable increase in shootings and other gun-related crimes. They also quesioned Burton about recent department procedure changes to hiring and disciplinary actions.
Shootings not random
Most shootings in Columbia are not random. The same groups of people are usually involved – gangs, and drug dealers as well as drugs users and abusers. Burton noted that efforts to solve the crimes have been hindered by “uncooperative witnesses” – people who are afraid that speaking with the police may result in retaliation against them – but police is dependent on the public’s help.
90 homicides have been recorded in Boone County in 2017, with eight of them inside Columbia, an increase compared to past years. According to crime statistics, 6 Homicides were recorded in the city of Columbia in 2016, only one in 2015 and five in 2014.
Why have thefts of guns from vehicles increased?
Burton said – guns disappear from vehicles for the same reason laptops or other valuables do — people leave valuable items, including guns, in cars and homes unlocked.
“I think the bigger question is why are they left out in the first place?” Burton added, also acknowledging, that all guns should be kept in a secured place.
This was certainly the right thing to say one might think in times of increasing high school shootings and nationwide marches to end gun violence, in the schools as well as in the streets and neighborhoods in Columbia and the rest of the nation.
Concerned community leaders met on Thursday night to brainstorm ways of preventing young people from getting involved with gangs.
There are currently 33 identified juvenile gang members in the city. The San Diego Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention said in Thursday night’s meeting that their first priority is getting that number down.
Some activists expressed their concerns that labeling young people as gang members is dangerous and that it could follow them into adulthood.
The San Diego Police Department reports they have identified 3, 623 gang member in the city and are proud that number is down from previous years.
Community members also said that the gang commission has created new roads, but the gang list needs to be flexible for young people who are working to turn their lives around.
via Community leaders unveil new plans for keeping teens out of gangs | fox5sandiego.com
Gang violence in Chicago is so pervasive that it is now spilling into funeral services. The problem has escalated to the point that Cook County has established a task force to address it, CBS Chicago reports.
What’s going on?
Sheriff Tom Dart has seen funeral processionals devolve into violent gunfights as they travel to Hillside, a cemetery where many slain gang members are buried in Chicago.
“People, literally, are jumping on other sides of the road, driving next to each other, weaving in and out of traffic, guns being waved out of cars,” Dart said. “There’s been shots fired from vehicles as well.”
Chief Joe Lukaszek referenced a recent incident that resulted in a chase and the recovery of three guns from a stolen SUV after shots were fired during a funeral processional.
Police followed the vehicle as it left the funeral and rammed it off the road before arresting the armed suspects.
“We were able to identify the car, and we started following the car after it left the cemetery so it wouldn’t create any more problems there,” Lukaszek said. “It’s getting out of control, it really is. The gangs just think that it’s a safe haven for them and they do whatever they want to do.”
via ‘No respect for the dead’: Chicago gang violence increasingly spilling into funerals | TheBlaze
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) – A member of the Black P-Stones street gang appeared in court Thursday to face a litany of charges, including attempted murder of a police officer, just 16 days after being released on parole.
Paris McKinely, 26, stood before Judge Sophia Atcherson and looked at the floor while Cook County prosecutors outlined their case against him.
About 12:30 a.m. Tuesday, the 42-year-old Chicago Police officer was on patrol with his partner in a marked police SUV when they spotted McKinley driving a 2005 Chrysler minivan south on Western Avenue, prosecutors said.
McKinley was unable to provide a driver’s license or proof of insurance when he was stopped for having flicking headlights and a 9mm Glock pistol was spotted on the floor of the van behind the center console, prosecutors said.
McKinley suddenly accelerated during the stop, causing the 42-year-old officer to grab on to the van’s open, driver’s side window and be dragged for two blocks as the van sped down Western toward 59th Street, prosecutors said. The officer yelled at McKinley to stop, but instead he sped through a red light at 59th Street and collided with another vehicle in the intersection.
Both vehicles sustained significant damage in the crash and the officer was thrown to the road, prosecutors said. McKinley drove off again, striking several metal poles before crashing into a building at 5917 S. Western. He left the van and ran off, but was taken into custody after hiding on the third-floor deck of a building in the 6300 block of South Claremont.
The officer was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was treated for abrasions to his knees and right hand.
In addition to the attempted murder charge, McKinley faces counts of aggravated battery to a police officer, armed habitual criminal, multiple weapons charges and violations related to fleeing the traffic stop and crash, according to court records.
McKinley was paroled on Feb. 20, according to Illinois Department of Corrections records. He has previously been convicted of robbery and weapons charges.
via Gang member charged with trying to kill CPD officer 2 weeks after parole – Story | WFLD