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Gang Membership in Texas Exceeds 100K

Gangs Considered Threat to Public Safety
AMARILLO -- Gang membership in Texas tops 100,000.

        Amarillo and the high plains are not immune to the problem.

        The Department of Public Safety's annual "Texas Gang Threat Assessment" indicates gang violence and associated crime are a chief threat to public safety in Texas.

        According to the report, you can find gang activity in almost all Texas cities with sizable populations.

        The DPS categorizes the dozens of gangs operating in Texas into three categories:  Tier One is the most dangerous, followed by Tiers Two and Three.

        The Tango Blast gang and its associated cliques have the highest membership at more than 8,000.

        The West Texas Tango clique is the most prominent in the panhandle.

        The report claims Texas gangs are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime.  Particularly drug smuggling, gun running and human trafficking.

        Amarillo Police Corporal Jerry Neufeld says these gangs have only one thing in mind,  "Their intent is to be involved in some type of criminal activity.  Whether it be street crime like burglaries, thefts, robberies, something like that or on the drug trading, trafficking kind of thing".

        Neufeld says it's hard to tell exactly how many gangs are operating in and around Amarillo.

        A gang expert with APD says a lot of gangs are moving out of Amarillo into the smaller towns in our area.
   
        They're still operating here but, by moving to the smaller towns, they can manage to stay off the police radar a little better.

        The report also claims more and more Texas gangs are affiliating themselves with Mexican drug cartels.

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