Experts: 20% of gun violence crime in Amarillo results from gangs
AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - A recent analysis over gun violence trends in Amarillo shows gun violence cases come down to one of four factors. One being gang violence.
According to an expert we spoke with, 20 percent of gun violence crimes in Amarillo are a result from gangs.
Amarillo Police Department officers say they are currently tracking 75 to 85 different gangs.
We’re told gang activity in Amarillo is far from traditional and ever changing.
“The police department has issues with identifying certain members of certain gangs because they might be in a certain gang one day and then the next day they might switch over to something different. The loyalty component that you would see in other areas is not necessarily true for our area which makes it very difficult,” says Jeanette Arpero, Criminal Justice Instructor at West Texas A&M University.
“Gangs in Amarillo are a bit different than you would see, like in California, for example. In California gang members have very strong affiliation or ties to their gangs, and in Amarillo that’s not necessarily the case,” says Arpero.
According to the Amarillo Police Department, the gangs in Amarillo are unique in the fact that they are referred to as hybrid gangs.
“They’re not following the same stereotypes that they used to back in the 90′s. Recently with these hybrid gangs the kids are calling themselves different names, but they are they still fall under your stereotype of your bloods and your crips that we all heard about growing up,” says Lieutenant Kevin Korinek, Community Engagement at The Amarillo Police Department.
“In the past, they would operate together and for a long term. Once they’ve committed to one group, they would stay committed to that group. What we’re seeing now is that they may be with one group this week, and the next week they’re doing crimes or other activities with a whole different group,” says Korinek.
According to Lieutenant Korinek, this makes solving cases more difficult.
He says, “We have documented around 80 to 85 different type of gang sets. Tracking the violence is extra hard with gangs because we don’t have cooperating witnesses or cooperating victims to help us bring the suspects to justice.”
Lieutenant Korinek has recently been tasked with establishing a gang intelligence unit at The Amarillo Police Department.
The new unit is doing a number of new things to help reduce gang activity including training officers on how to identify gang members in the field and working with other law enforcement agencies to keep databases current.
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