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What’s the difference between a tier 1 gang and a tier 2 gang?

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Cathy had a question after reading an online article about the recent shooting involving members of the Bandidos motorcycle club. She read how the Texas Department of Public Safety referred to the Bandidos as a tier 2 gang. Cathy wanted to know what that means.

The DPS releases an annual gang threat assessment, and gangs that pose the greatest risk are labeled tier 1 gangs.

The state’s latest assessment was released last month, with gangs like Tango Blast, MS-13, the Mexican Mafia and the Latin Kings all ranking as tier 1 gangs. The assessment is based in part on the number of members in the gang, their level of violence and criminal activities, along with their relationship with Mexican crime cartels.

The state of Texas ranks Barrio Azteca, the Crips and Bloods, along with the Bandidos, as tier 2 gangs.

In recent years, Barrio Azteca has fallen from being a tier 1 gang to tier 2 because of a weakening threat, its relationship with the deteriorating Juarez Drug Cartel and the encroachment of the Sinaloa Cartel in the Borderland.

In its new assessment of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, the DPS says the gang conducts its illegal activities as covertly as possible and generally tries to avoid high-profile activities. It goes on to say gang members are not covert about making their presence known, frequently wearing their gang colors, insignia and riding in large groups. Finally, the report says the Bandidos seek to turn public sentiment in their favor by organizing frequent charity runs.

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