Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gang Crime


In September, 1876 a criminal gang of eight heavily armed men robbed a bank in Minnesota. During the robber they ruthlessly murdered two men, but were confronted by both law enforcement and armed citizens. Several of the gangsters were killed and the rest fled the scene. In the pursuit, two of the robbers got away and one of them subsequently committed more murders and robberies. Four of the suspects were captured from the James/Younger Gang.

America has had violent criminal gangs for centuries. It is a problem that seems never to go away. The only way the gangs are broken is when their criminal activities are actively pursued, prosecuted by law enforcement and prosecutors who are well trained in gang dynamics and gang violence. Sometimes it can be difficult to obtain convictions of gang members because the community sees the gangsters as victims of persecution or as some kind of “Robin Hood” who is bringing justice to the community. Other times it is simply a matter of juries that are scared, coerced or even bought off by the gang who then refuse to convict the gangsters.

In making gang arrests and convictions, officers need to focus on the on-going criminal nature of the gang. They need to show the gang only exists for the personal enrichment and power of the gangsters; not that they are doing any service to the community. The helplessness of the victims and their innocence is important to tell the jury. Agencies need to focus on the whole gang. Constant pressure by the police working in cooperation with elected officials, and prosecutors is needed to bring gangs down. A concerted effort over the long term can break criminal gangs, but it takes time and resources. It’s worth it however when the gang is dead or in prison and the streets are safer; that’s what the SGT Says.


Protect_and_Serve said...

I think you meant 1876.

Bunkermeister said...

You are correct and I have made the change. Thanks.