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Is Time Running Out for Texas Gangs?

NCJ Number
Criminal Law Update Volume: 8 Issue: 2 Dated: 2000 Pages: 4-11
Date Published
8 pages
Texas has stepped up efforts to fight gang violence through aggressive new laws, information resources, and training to help local law enforcement agencies target the State's gang members.
In the last two legislative sessions, Texas lawmakers passed anti-gang laws that countered gang crime with prevention, early detection, and aggressive treatment. A common thread was sharing information statewide to empower local law enforcement to curtail the illegal activities of gang members. To implement these laws the attorney general created a gang resource website with information on geographic area-specific gang names, colors, tatoos, graffiti, migration trends, and recruitment activities. The Department of Public Safety established a statewide database for tracking individual gang members. The Department of Criminal Justice notified sheriffs and police chiefs when gang members left prison and moved into their counties. The department also trained parole officers who supervised released gang members. Further, the Texas Violent Gang Task Force united Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies in taking action against gangs. New tools and training to aid local anti-gang programs included a gang tattoo removal program, training to instruct police in how to turn gang members' websites into an advantage in combating gang-related crime, and training in how to interpret gang graffiti messages. This article explained how one Texas county had read gang graffiti and accessed information on gang activities to reduce the number of gangs and gang activity in the county. Selected findings were presented from the Texas Attorney General's 1999 survey on gangs in the State. 5 references


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