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Gangs are everywhere, including the burbs, not to worry though 'We Have A Program For That"


Hardcore Gangs Hit Ohio Suburbs

Subversive element creeping beyond Columbus’ borders
Last year, Westerville North High School suspended two students who flashed MS-13 hand signs and drew gang insignia during an English-asa-second-language class. MS-13, or Mara Salvatrucha, is a notoriously violent street gang with roots in Los Angeles. It was formed by immigrants from El Salvador.

Gang crime isn’t nearly as serious or common in the suburbs as in some Columbus neighborhoods, but suburban schools and police departments are increasingly on watch.
"It’s not so centralized in the inner city as it used to be," said Pat Brooks, a veteran Columbus police gang unit officer.

Suburban police call Brooks and his colleagues when they suspect gang activity in their jurisdictions.

Most of the crack dealers in Reynoldsburg are gang members who live in Columbus, said Tye Downard, a Reynoldsburg police narcotics detective.

They go there to make more money, he said.

"If you’re selling 80 bucks worth of crack cocaine in Columbus, you can get $120 for it in Reynoldsburg," Downard said.

Police in Hilliard were alarmed last year when an MS-13 member told an officer he was trying to escape gang members in Chicago.

The man told the officer he was visiting relatives in the Columbus area before heading to Detroit, said detective Joe Berardi.

"The guy was tattooed all the way up to the neck," he said.

Columbus gang officers said MS-13’s presence in central Ohio is growing. Last year, the area’s leader, Nelson Flores, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for reentering the United States after he had been deported. He was kicked out of the country after he was convicted in connection with a drive-by shooting in Nevada.

Flores was known as "El Mula" ("The Mule") in a drug ring that flourished here.
Arrested after a traffic accident, Flores told Jim Sandford, a Columbus police gang unit detective: "We (MS-13) will own this town in four years."

Columbus police have identified gangs throughout the city’s poorest neighborhoods, and estimate there are about 600 active gang members citywide.

It’s difficult to say how many gang members are in the suburbs because most of the suburban police departments don’t keep a running total. But crime associated with gangs appears to be rising, prosecutors say.

In Franklin County, cases involving young gang members charged with violent crimes rose from 61 in the second quarter of 2004 to 194 in the second quarter of 2006. County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien attributes the increase to better tracking as well as more gang crime. Assistant County Prosecutor James Lowe, who concentrates on gang cases, said the vast majority of those charged live in Columbus.

Columbus Police Chief Receives Training in Israel Updated: Thursday, March 28 2013,EDT

COLUMBUS — Two groups out of Washington D.C. invited Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs to a law enforcement trip to Israel. The U.S. Justice Department and The Jewish Institute for National Security paid for the trip. The Chief rode along with police in Tel Aviv. She says they ride in pairs, and unlike Columbus Police they don’t wear protective vests. The Chief was able to see a demonstration of their training with bomb disposal and what they do after some of the suicide bombers blew up buses. Chief Jacobs tells ABC6 Reporter Carol Luper Israeli police put prime importance on fast cleanup of a crime scene “if something happens get it cleaned up and out of the way so life can go on.” The Chief says one thing she brought back was the need for constant vigilance and she would like to see more officer involvement in homeland security and counter terrorism task forces. She says they have intense security there with cameras all over places like shopping malls and officers standing by with guns. Israelis believe this is necessary to provide them with security. People complain about surveillance cameras in Columbus, but the Chief says her officers have to walk a fine line-protecting people’s rights and providing a safe secure city. ----------Read More at: 

Police: Gangs are everywhere, including suburbs

Gang members involved in large percentage of city's murders, police say

Boxill is a Columbus police sergeant and in charge of the Columbus Division of Police's criminal intelligence unit, which investigates, among other things, the activities of gangs. She was the guest speaker last week at a monthly meeting of Block Watch coordinators from the Northland area -- and she pulled no punches.
"We have every race, color, whatever you want to call it, involved in gang activity in the city of Columbus," Boxill said. "The best thing about Columbus is it's so spread out, and the worst thing about Columbus is it's so spread out, it's hard for us to keep a handle on this.
"Gangs are everywhere -- everywhere."
And not just in the city, she added. Increasingly, her unit gets calls from Reynoldsburg, Pickerington and Grove City for advice on handling gang issues.
Nationally, violent crime and property-crime rates have declined dramatically over the past decade, according to the April 2012 fact sheet highlighting the 2010 National Youth Gang Survey by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
However, the continued presence of gangs and the associated violence and serious crime is an "enduring concern" in many areas, the fact sheet said, adding that, despite the overall decline in crime, gang violence continues at high levels in some cities.
The Columbus police gangs unit was created in 1996 in response to a then-new state law dealing with street gangs, Boxill said. Since then, about 1,900 gang members have been documented in around 88 "gang sets," although Boxill said she thinks the number is closer to 100 groups today.
The members range in age from preteens, or "little knuckleheads," as she calls them, to men in their mid-40s.
A report completed a few years ago when Walter Distelzweig was chief of police in Columbus estimated 0.00017 percent of the city's population belongs to gangs, yet since 2005, gang members have been involved in 20 percent to 25 percent of all homicides, Boxill said.
"That's a lot of involvement," she added, and it doesn't include felonious assaults, robberies or burglaries, other crimes often associated with street gangs.
The FBI has labeled street gangs "domestic terrorists," she said.
So far, Sgt. Boxill pointed out, that could describe the Boy Scouts, the U.S. Army or a police department. The fourth factor, criminal activity, is the crucial one, she said.
"It's the pattern of criminal activity that makes you an illegal gang member," Boxill said. "You don't pique our interest until you get involved in criminal gang activity."


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