View Full Version : City's gang problem

05-24-2006, 07:21 AM
I think it's about time the OKC Police Department did something different to try to combat our gang problem. Maybe this will help.

City authorities form team to fight gangs

By Jay F. Marks
The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City authorities are going with a team approach to eradicate street gangs.
The Oklahoma City Metropolitan Gang Task Force -- made up of members of the Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma County district attorney's office, U.S. attorney's office, FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives -- allows agencies to pool their resources in pursuit of a common goal, U.S. Attorney John Richter said.

"We will take the most active and violent gangs out of our neighborhoods," Richter said.
The agencies have been working together for several months but chose Tuesday to unveil their team effort.

As proof of the arrangement's effectiveness, Richter pointed to federal drug and gun charges filed Monday against seven members or associates of an Oklahoma City gang known as the Playboy Gangster Crips.

Police estimate there are more than 80 street gangs in Oklahoma City with about 3,500 members.

Those figures contributed to 260 drive-by shootings in 2005, officials said.
The formation of the task force is part of a two-pronged anti-gang strategy, officials said.

The prosecution part of the program targets violent gang offenders, with an eye toward putting them in prison for as long as the law allows, officials said.

Task force members also want to keep young people from joining gangs.

"There is no future in being a member of a criminal gang," Richter said.

"The key is to make young people realize this."

The task force will enlist community partners, including the state Office of Juvenile Affairs, Martial Arts Gang Prevention Program and Student Anti-Violence Education to address personal, family and community factors that lead young people to gangs instead of safer alternatives.
Officials at state and federal prisons in Oklahoma will work with the task force to ensure offenders do not return to gangs when they are released, Richter said.