There have been more gang related homicides than US casualties combined during the Iraqi and Afghanistan conflicts.
The National Gang Center reports that there are approximately 2000 gang related homicides a year in the US. This is based on the most recent National Youth Gang Survey done in 2012.
Compare that to the 5326 total hostile US deaths during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, October 2001 and December 2014.
These are some scary numbers especially when you consider we were actively engaged in battle during those conflicts.
Why is America spending so much time fighting terrorism abroad when we have people living in similiar circumstances here at home?
Across the country people are living like they are in a war torn country. Where gang members are the terrorists and officers the US troops.
A lot of people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan say that hardest thing was that even with the women and children, it was almost impossible to tell friend from foe.
Officers in gang controlled neighborhoods face similar problems. Mistrust of law enforcement and fear of retribution make their jobs that much harder.
The NGC says, “The racial composition of a community’s gang problem is largely a reflection of the racial composition of the community itself…Gangs tend to gain power in the most disadvantaged areas and thus naturally attract the disadvantaged youth there.”
The FBI is using the same techniques to fight gangs that they used to fight organized crimes.
The Safe Streets Task Forces and the National Gang Intelligence Center were formed to identify and target gangs that pose the greatest danger to the community.
“The NGIC integrates gang intelligence from across federal, state, and local law enforcement on the growth, migration, criminal activity, and association of gangs that pose a significant threat to the U.S,” FBI, What We Investigate, Gangs.
It’s time for these communities to fight back. Gangs are the real enemy of America’s disadvantaged.
To the people living in these communities:
Remember gangs are the reason you don’t feel safe in your own front yard.
Gangs are the reason there are few good jobs in your area. Businesses are afraid of violence, theft, and damage to property.
Gangs are the reason you feel that law enforcement is targeting you unfairly. Gang members are using your community to camoflague their criminal activities, making it difficult for officers to tell friend from foe.
Here’s what you can do about it.
1. Cooperation-Remember officers can’t tell who is or isn’t a gang member.
2. Help. Let the officers know who is doing what where. You can leave an annoymous tip on your local crime line.
3. Report. If you see an officer acting inappropriately report them to your local police station. Remember, there are ways to challenge findings and request an external investigation. Let the process do its job before you jump to conclusions.