Gang Violence on the Rise Again?

By: Amanda Humes
By: Amanda Humes

Both Bryan and College Station Police officers say they first started noticing gang activity in the early 90s. It peaked in the mid 90s with 50 gang related shootings. All was relatively quiet, until recently.

Sgt. Shane Bush is one of six members of Bryan's Directed Deployment Team which targets gang violence. He says there are over 100 documented gang members in Bryan and that residents are fed up.

" They don't want to live in a crime infested neighborhood, they don't want to live in fear. They want to be able to walk down the street just like everybody else," said Bush.

Police get the most calls about gang activity on the west side of town. They fear it's just a matter of time before it spreads to other parts.

" It has an impact on us because they're just as likely to cross city boundaries as any one else. So any type of problem that affects Bryan is going to affect us in a way," said College Station Police Sgt. Chuck Fleeger.

Fleeger worked the gang unit for 5 years. He admits the problems of gangs aren't as visible in College Station as they are in Bryan, but says it's the entire community's problem.

Statistics show that teens who come from a lower socio-economical background or who don't have an authoritative figure in their lives are more susceptible to join a gang.

Things police use to identify gang members include certain colors or symbols on their clothing, tattoos and graffiti.

You can drive down many streets in Bryan and see graffiti all over several buildings. This is how many gangs mark their territory.

Authorities say they hope a proactive approach will keep gang violence from escalating, but they'll need the community's help.


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