From the Texas Department of Public Safety:
AUSTIN - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released the updated Texas Gang Threat Assessment, which was developed to provide a broad overview of gang activity in the state of Texas.
"Gang violence and crime are a chief threat to public safety in Texas, and protecting our communities from these criminals remains a top priority," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "This assessment provides detailed information about the gangs operating in our state, which will enhance the ability of law enforcement to combat these dangerous organizations and their associates."
The Texas Gang Threat Assessment was developed according to statute, which requires an annual report to be submitted to the governor and Texas Legislature assessing the threat posed by statewide criminal gangs. The report is based on the collaboration between multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies across the state and nation, whose contributions were essential in creating this comprehensive overview of gang activity in Texas.
"Gangs represent one of the top organized-crime threats to public safety," said Sen. Craig Estes, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security. "The Texas Gang Threat Assessment will serve as a critical tool to assist law enforcement agencies in developing and executing strategies to protect Texans, and I applaud the Texas Department of Public Safety for its efforts in combating this critical threat."
"The most effective tool in fighting any threat is understanding the enemy. This intelligence report amasses information about gang trends and their relationships that is critical to effectively targeting and disrupting these criminal organizations," said Rep. Joe Pickett, chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety.
This assessment details the state's systematic approach to evaluating and classifying gangs in order to identify which organizations represent the most substantial threat. The report reveals that current gang membership across the state may exceed 100,000 individuals.
Additional significant findings include:
- Gangs continue to pose a substantial threat to public safety in Texas and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in our communities.
- Many gangs in Texas continue to work with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs, weapons, people and cash across the border. The relationships between some gangs and cartels have evolved over the past year due in part to volatility and changes in cartel structures and relationships in Mexico.
- Of the incarcerated members of Tier 1 and Tier 2 gangs, more than half are serving a sentence for a violent crime, including robbery (25 percent), homicide (13 percent), and assault/terroristic threat (15 percent).
- Texas-based gangs, gang members and their associates are active in both human smuggling and human trafficking, which often includes sex trafficking and compelling prostitution of adult and minor victims. Gangs will continue to operate in human trafficking due to the potential for large and renewable profits and the assumed low risk of detection by law enforcement.
- Tango Blast remains the state's most significant gang threat. The Tier 1 gangs in Texas are: Tango Blast and Tango cliques (more than 8,200 members); Texas Syndicate (more than 4,400 members); Texas Mexican Mafia (more than 5,500 members), and Barrio Azteca (more than 2,000 members).
To view the full Texas Gang Threat Assessment, visit: www.dps.texas.gov/director_staff/media_and_communications/2014/txGangThreatAssessment.pdf