Latino Gangs: Is Information Sharing The Answer?


Federal authorities plan to deport a 24-year-old Washington, D.C.-area man who stabbed a rival gang member six months after he served more than a year in jail for disposing of a body in a gang-related killing, reports the Washington Post. They didn’t do that last year, when local officials alerted them that he was a convicted felon and in this country illegally. The El Salvador native “personifies the need for information sharing that goes beyond the boundaries of counties, states and the federal government,” said a police officer.

As Mara Salvatrucha and other Latino gangs expand their presence in the area, some officials say they need more formal means of sharing information about an enemy that crosses local, state and international borders. The FBI has created a National Gang Intelligence Center and is developing a gang strategy, targeted first at Mara Salvatrucha. It is yet to produce specific tools, such as national or regional databases devoted to gangs, that local law enforcers could use easily. Not everyone agrees that sharing information is the solution. “It’s something that we really, really have to explore deeply, even before we do it,” said Lt. Michael Pavlik, head of the D.C. police intelligence unit. “Different jurisdictions use different criteria for identifying gang members. In the law circles throughout the country, everybody has a different definition of a gang member.”


Comments are closed.