What Is Being Done
Anti-Gang Suppression Efforts and Law Enforcement Initiatives

In general, gang-related crimes fall within the jurisdiction of state and local law enforcement.  As gangs have spread across the country, and as their threat has become more national in nature, the interest in finding solutions to the problem has increasingly included all levels of government.  In 2006, the first joint gang unit for Spokane County was created in response to an increase in gang related violent crime.  In 2008, the unit was recognized as an FBI Safe Streets Task Force.  The Spokane Regional Safe Streets Task Force is made up of street officers, investigators, and support staff, all of whom were dedicated to eliminating or drastically reducing the gang problem.  It collects and reports information on all types of gangs and does not focus on any individual or gang solely because of ethnic or socioeconomic status.  The Team has been a model emulated by new task forces both in Washington State and throughout the nation.  Members of the unit are called upon often to assist in the formation of new task forces based on best-practice models.

Gangs are Violent and Responsible for a Large Percentage of Criminal Acts

The law enforcement community recognizes that gangs are violent and are responsible for a large percentage of criminal acts in their jurisdictions.  Gangs are often involved in murders, assaults, auto theft, robbery, burglaries, dealing illegal drugs, prostitution, extortion, selling stolen goods, trading illegal weapons, human trafficking, vandalism through their tagging and violence against other gang members and occasionally citizens.

The Outlook - Gangs Expanding Their Criminal Operations

Gang-related violence is very likely to remain at high levels as gangs expand their criminal operations into suburban and rural communities. As gangs encounter resistance from other local gangs or drug distributors in these communities, an increase in violent incidents such as assaults, drive-by shootings, and homicides can be expected. Neighborhood-based gangs account for the majority of gangs active in the United States; however, national gangs commit more organized criminal activity and continue to expand their networks. Neighborhood-based gangs will continue to consume the resources of local law enforcement in communities that report high levels of gang-related criminal activity, but migration of national gangs into new areas will pose an increasing threat to such communities.

Source: National Gang Threat Assessment 2009

Gangs And Related Criminal Activity Will Not Be Tolerated

The traditional approach of the criminal justice system, focusing on the crime and not the criminal, is not effective in dealing with members of gangs.  Therefore, it is the position of the law enforcement community to neither tolerate gangs nor their activity within their jurisdictions.  
All crimes committed by gangs or gang members should be investigated and when appropriate, charges should be filed. All contacts with suspected gang members or gang associates should be documented.  Suspected gang related incidents or crimes that are reported as such need to be thoroughly investigated by the criminal justice system. 


Our Objective - To disrupt and dismantle the most significant and violent gangs in Spokane and surrounding area.

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    Anti-Gang Initiatives

    Involvement of local citizens, including former gang youth, community groups, and agencies, and the coordination of programs and staff functions within and across agencies.

    Involving youth-serving agencies, schools, grassroots groups, faith-based organizations, police, and other juvenile/criminal justice organizations in "reaching out" to gang-involved youth and their families and linking them with the conventional world and needed services.

    Formal and informal social control procedures, including close supervision and monitoring of gang-involved youth by agencies of the juvenile/criminal justice system and also by community-based agencies, schools, and grassroots groups.