EPPD: Gangs no longer worried about territory, but the sale of narcotics in El Paso
The El Paso Police Department has seen nearly double the number in gang-related cases in 2017 compared to 2016, according to numbers released by the department.
The gangs are spread throughout the city and are not centered in one particular part of town or neighborhood, according to Darrel Petry, spokesman with EPPD.
Years ago, particularly in the '90s, gang members would focus on their territory such as a neighborhood, according to Petry.
However, Petry said now the gang members are more concentrated on selling and trading illegal narcotics.
“What we’re seeing is more of the issues that go with the sale of the illegal narcotics, trade of drug ripoffs and people using violence in the actual transaction of the narcotics,” said Petry.
The gang members are of all ages; some gang members may even be in a gang because their parents or grandparents were in the gang, according to Petry.
"It's very, very difficult to classify anybody by a specific color, dress, age. We're looking for criminal behavior associated with the gangs,” said Petry.
Petry said graffiti is still an indicator of gang activity in neighborhoods and should be reported to police.
The gang tip line’s phone number is 915-212-GANG (4264).
Below are the gang-related cases through November 2017.
Crime Category 2016 2017
Aggravated Assault 59 72
Assaults 17 19
Attempted Murder 1 1
Criminal Mischief 16 25
Robbery 2 3
Aggravated Robbery 6 3
E.I.O.C.A. 5 3
(Engaging in Organized Criminal
Unlawful Carrying weapon 4 4
Graffiti 121 175
Retaliation/Threats 11 15
Other Cases 48 300
Call Outs 65 82
Total Cases 330 668