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New Mexico Street Gangs

NCJ Number
Date Published
44 pages
This report by the New Mexico Governor's Organized Crime Prevention Commission focuses on the extent and nature of the street-gang problem in that State.
In July 1990 the commission queried 30 local law enforcement agencies across the State on the extent of gang activity in their jurisdictions. The 16 responding agencies identified 127 gangs statewide with an estimated membership of between 4,200 and 5,800. A total of 111 of these gangs are in Albuquerque and comprise the majority of the total gang membership. Evidence indicates that 80 percent of the State's street gangs are involved in narcotics trafficking. Twenty percent of reported crimes committed by gang members are narcotics violations, 36 percent are violent crimes, and 40 percent are property crimes. Of the 111 Albuquerque gangs, 61 are Hispanic, 31 black, and 19 white. A comparison of per capita figures indicates that New Mexico has a problem with street gangs nearly as severe as that of southern California; however, California has a significantly more serious problem with gang-related homicides and drive-by shootings. The commission's study also indicates that street gangs based in Los Angeles, primarily the "Crips," have developed crack cocaine markets in New Mexico. This migration of the Crips operations may be due to aggressive law enforcement in California. New Mexico has already begun a multijurisdictional effort to address the gang problem under the New Mexico Street Gang Task Force. This promises to be the most efficient and effective way to address the problem in the judgment of the commission.