Section IIIChallenges to the Profession Chapter 9 Gangs and Drugs: Threats to Our National Security
The Threat of Gangs Gangs and gang membership increased significantly between 2002 and 2008. Reporting agencies perceive the problem as worsening.
Trends Local gangs remain a significant threat. Gang members are migrating from urban to suburban and rural areas. Criminal gangs commit as much as 80% of the crime in many communities. Gang members are the primary retail-level distributors of most illicit drugs. Some gangs are trafficking illicit drugs at the regional and national levels. U.S.–based gang members illegally cross the U.S.–Mexican border for the purpose of smuggling drugs and illegal aliens. Many gangs use the Internet to recruit and communicate with members. Street gangs pose a growing threat to law enforcement along the U.S.–Canada border.
Definition of Gangs • The National Alliance of Gang Investigators Association (NAGIA) defines a gang as: • A group or association of three or more persons who may have a common • Identifying sign • Symbol • Name • Who individually or collectively engage in, or have engaged in, criminal activity which creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Definitional Characteristics of Gangs • Gang criteria and descriptors: • Having a gang name • Displaying colors or other symbols • Hanging out together • Claiming a turf or territory • A majority of city and suburban agencies emphasize using self-nomination. • Rural counties place greater emphasis on display of tattoos, colors or other symbols to designate gang membership.
Street Gangs Hispanic or Latin American gangs African American gangs Asian gangs White ethnic gangs Females and gangs Criminal gangs
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs Among the most dynamic gangs worldwide Influence the drug trade using extortion, white slavery and money laundering Maintain a strong centralized leadership Operate at national, regional and local levels
Prison Gangs Highly structured criminal networks Governed by established sets of rules and codes of conduct Operate within the federal and state prison systems Operate in local communities through members who have been released from prison
Characteristics of Gangs Criminal activity Organization Leadership Domain identification Use of symbols Name
The Gang Subculture Values, norms and beliefs that form a gang code of behavior Requirements like wearing gang colors or getting a tattoo Never being a “snitch” Violent victimization
Why People Join Gangs Belonging Identity or recognition Protection Fellowship and brotherhood To make money
Risk Factors • Family structure • Broken families • Racial minority receiving government assistance • Lacks a male authority figure or positive male role model • “Assembly-line production” of gang members • Non-English speaking family • Unemployment • Poverty • General despair
Gang Intelligence • Internal contacts • With patrol officers and detectives • Internal departmental records • Computerized files • Review of offense reports • Interviews with gang members • Information from other local police agencies • Surveillance activities • Use of paid or unpaid informants
Gang Control Strategies Primary prevention Secondary prevention Intervention Suppression Reentry
Combating Gang Problems Targeting gang hotspots Targeting known offenders Use of informants School resource officers Saturation patrol of targeted areas
Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T.) Reduce student involvement in gangs and delinquent behavior Teach students the consequences of gang involvement Help students develop positive relations with law enforcement
The OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model Community mobilization Opportunities provision Social intervention Suppression Organizational change and development
Obstacles to Prosecuting Gang Members Victims and witnesses are reluctant to cooperate Gang intimidation and fear of reprisal Uncertain victim and witness credibility Inadequate police reports Lack of appropriate sanctions for juvenile gang members involved in criminal activities
Drug Cartels The Mexican drug war Other U.S. borders
The History of Drug Use in the United States • 1914—Harrison Narcotics Act, making the sale or use of certain drugs illegal • 1920—every state required its students to learn about narcotics’ effects • 1937—marijuana becomes last drug to be banned • 1960s—time of youthful rebellion • 1980s—”Just say no” • Today: one of the biggest threats to our communities is illegal drug abuse
Controlled Substances Cocaine Heroin Marijuana Methamphetamine MDMA (Ecstasy) Other controlled substances Abuse of prescription drugs
Common Effects of Controlled Substances They are mind altering. They may become addicting—either physically or psychologically. Overdosage may result in convulsions or death.
The “War on Drugs” Stop drug use before it starts: education and community action. Heal America’s drug users: getting treatment resources where they are needed. Disrupt the market: attacking the economic basis of the drug trade.
Is Punishment an Answer? Incarceration Asset forfeiture
Arguments for Legalization Costs: Dollars now spent on enforcement could be used for education and treatment. Organized crime: Legalization would eliminate the drug lords’ major source of funds. Revenues: Taxes on drugs, like taxes on alcohol and tobacco, could be used to finance treatment programs.
Arguments Against Legalization Increased drug use and addiction: Inexpensive, widely available drugs would increase addiction. Increased crime: Because of the proven link between drug use and crime, more drug users/addicts would lead to increased levels of crime. Medical costs: Health costs of drug abuse would increase. Social values: Legalizing drugs would make them socially acceptable.
The Nexus Between Illicit-Drug Abuse and Crime 1. If a large number of people want a product or service, someone will try to supply it. 2. Efforts to suppress that supply will result in massive evasion and the creation of criminal syndicates. 3. The enforcement effort itself will generate secondary crime. 4. Intensifying the enforcement effort encourages adaptations, either substitution of products or transfer of the service to people more willing to take the increased risks.
Test Preparation Motorcycle gangs Gang symbols Most prolific club drug Most feared street gang Drugs