An Anonymous Police officer contributes a chilling article about the true severity of the gang problem in Utah
Dear Elected Politicians, State, County, City Leaders, and School Administration, as well as concerned community members;
As a very concerned citizen of the United States, who has studied the gang problem in Utah as an independent researcher for more than 4 years; I ask you all to please become active in your children’s lives and learn about gangs and drug abuse issues of 2009.
For the Sake Of Our Kids and our neighborhoods, please stop denying that we have a crime, gang, drug abuse -addiction and overdose problem and other related social problems which stem from gangs and drugs.
Denial that you were not aware of kids in public schools who are gang members starting at elementary school. Denial that for some reason we are immune to the effects of criminal gangs and that there cannot be any gang members in our everyday lives.
Being that they frequently do exist in our homes, our churches, our neighborhoods, our schools and our workplaces. Being that the gangs in Utah consist of very young kids, female gang members and are as diverse as the people within our State.
Being that many parents are so clueless as to what their teens are doing. Denial or Ignorance because they have non minority (age 9 to 17) kids or kids that they feel are from outstanding homes and financial backgrounds. Because of where I grew up, where I lived in the past and where I attended a prestigious private school, I have seen the denial and ignorance of a gang problem. I have also seen the many cross cultural and social stereotypes of whom and what gang bangers are. Stop blaming those people that are different than yourself that is the first recommendation to parents not in tune with their kids. I listen to Hip Hop and many other stations as well, understand what is discussed in the song lyrics. Understand the online power of social networking websites. Understand the street inspired fashion, is your son or daughter drawing all over notebooks (do you know what they are drawing or sketching), what are they wearing (Go to SL County Sheriff Office website about gang in volvement), tattoos, bandannas?
First off, I applaud the efforts of the local and national law enforcement community who works with the gang problem daily here in Utah. I thank all of the Law Enforcement and Public Safety Community nationwide for doing a much underappreciated difficult job. The same devoted Public Servants with not enough resources in past years when budgets were better, and now the strapped budgets of recent. Public Servants lacking resources and overwhelmed with requests for service as the population continues to grown. Thank You to the Metro Gang Unit and Community Groups.
As a non law enforcement member of the Utah community (living in Salt Lake County) ; and having watched gangs spread successfully since about 1995; that in Utah and Nationwide much more needs to be done. The effects of gangs and the crime they are responsible for is extensive.
People may wonder why gangs are spreading in Utah, one of the best states in the U.S. The reason is very simple; we continue to provide them little resistance as law abiding citizens. The lack of resistance is seen as weak laws, weak enforcement and a lack of public awareness campaigns. Luckily in 2008 many new tougher gang laws were enacted by Honorable Governor John Huntsman. The issue is that we still lack enforcement (due to legal loopholes) of graffiti vandalism, and due to whatever reason of illegal car modifications. (FAILURE is noticeable in DRESS CODE ENFORCEMENT in Schools. I understand it is tough right now for families, but known gang related apparel should not be on children in elementary, middle and high school age).
The Peeing Match (as animals mark territory): Failure is widespread in our neighborhoods as we do not report graffiti vandalism and one gang turf markings become a threat to a rival gang and soon violence or more vandalism occurs)) Numbers, Roman Numerals, Symbols, colors, or scribbling on the wall, signs, utility boxes that many do not understand are widespread throughout the county)
The Cost of Gangs Left To Do What They Want: as taxpayers with lower property values, vandalism repairs, stolen cars, and car prowls*break-ins, as well as drug addiction and abuse harm. Then the random senseless acts of violence such as the past few years incidences such as drive by shootings due to mistaken identity etc.(PLEASE REPORT Vandalism, Graffiti and suspicious activity to your local police department. You may remain anonymous; you can have the graffiti cleaned up for free or free materials for property owners. Do you live in a neighborhood with night activity, cars coming and going from places or parking and leaving? Your nice neighborhood might be a drug dealer’s new location for business.)
Gangs continue to spread and recruit younger and younger members. They are becoming very active in small country towns, and in expensive neighborhoods. They thrive due to the drug profits, and the profits from prostitution and other illegal activities.
Why are they still here and spreading well? We do little as a law abiding society to control their criminal enterprises. If the gang member looks like your neighbors, then you don’t have a gang member. Nothing could be further from the reality of criminal gangs.
As it increases to warm up in the valley, let us all come together to end the violence and drug related activities in our communities.
Thank You to All Community Leaders, SLC Mayor, SLCO Mayor, Nancy White, and All who do a great job!