The Tampa Tribune reported today that up to 52 suspected gang members involved in drugs and thief in Eastern Hillsborough County were arrested between 5:00 am and 8:00 am Monday morning.

Two years ago a raid such as this netted more than a hundred suspects associated with gangs in Tampa’s Town and Country area.  After that major roundup, gang activity declined with many members going to ground.

Several gangs including Latin Life, Latin Kings, and Westside were represented with the bust.  Sheriff’s office, Tampa police, the U.S. Marshal’s Office, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, as well as Immigration Agents were involved in this action on Monday.

Like many major cities around the country, gang activity has grown over the last 10 years.  Drive by shootings increase yearly, with many taking away innocent lives, and destroying families in the process.  Most members are in their early twenties, with some staying longer if the profits justify.

We need to come to terms with gangs for what they really are.  They are not “clubs” for those who feel that they do not belong in any specific group.  Gangs exist because of the money they generate, much of which goes to higher forms of criminal activity.  These groups divide the focus of police forces in many individual directions, and allow the big fish get away. 

Gang activity at this level can easily be tracked and extinguished by harassing its members, and setting stricter sentences once found guilty in its activity.  We need to come to terms with the fact that it’s not just a part of the big city life, and start treating these criminal elements for what they actually are…training grounds for future hard core criminals.



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