Friday, April 20, 2012

Ganging up on gangs

 There are approximately 651 active gang members and their associates in Tacoma, according the 2011 City of Tacoma Gang Assessment published this week. The report also found 140 active criminal street gangs in King County comprised of approximately 10,000 members.

Out of the eight major neighborhoods in Tacoma, five seem to be the hotbeds for gang activity:
  • South Tacoma
  • South End
  • Eastside
  • Central
  • New Tacoma
Rep. Connie Ladenburg

With these astounding numbers coupled with the fact that middle schools are where many children are recruited for gangs, we’re left asking ourselves, “What can we do?”

Reps. Connie Ladenburg and Luis Moscoso sponsored legislation during the 2012 session aimed at helping find solutions to this ever-growing problem.

House Bill 2535, sponsored by Rep. Ladenburg, encourages the establishment of juvenile gang courts to help young gang members stay out of jail and turn their lives around. This legislation takes effect June 7th, 2012.
Rep. Luis Moscoso

House Bill 2432, sponsored by Rep. Moscoso, sought to create the Criminal Street Gang Prevention and Intervention Grant Program Account to reduce gang violence. While his legislation did not pass this year, Moscoso secured $250,000 in the operating budget to get the ball rolling.

To read about the 2011 Gang Assessment, click here.