DPS Report: High number of active gangs in West Texas

Updated: Aug. 15, 2017 at 6:16 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A new report released by the Department of Public Safety in July of 2017 shows several tier one and tier two level gangs are active in West Texas.

In the Lubbock area alone, the Lubbock County Sheriff's Office, Lubbock Police Department and DPS identified more than 1,400 gang members in the area.

The Sheriff's Office says they have been busy over the years dealing with gangs almost daily.

"Our warrants division with Homeland Security in April of 2015, we actually led the nation in that month-long raid for HSI with 122," said Captain Joe Gilliam with LSO.

LSO has been so busy with some of the gang members that they have asked for additional personnel.

Inside the detention center, the Gang Intelligence Unit has gone from one to four full-time members, and they created a street crimes unit in 2015.

Gilliam says they have a four man street crimes unit who focus on stolen property to documented gang members.

Gilliam says money is the driving force behind the gangs in the area.

"The way that's being utilized here in Lubbock is that cartel members are moving out to smaller locations and then they're using local gangs to bring the product into the city," Gilliam said.

And, the high number of gang members in the area continues to grow.

Since January, they have identified more than 100 more gang members.

"Our street crimes unit this year since January have identified 62 new ones, but our four in the jail have identified 85 new ones."

The threat these gangs members can pose on our community can be significant.

"Anytime you have a large organization or a large group of people engaged in any kind of criminal offense and they are organized in structure, it's more of a threat than just one individual saying he was going to steal at a house," said Gilliam.

You can read the full  Texas Gang Assessment report from DPS here.

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