Seattle Re-Establishing Gang Unit After High-Profile Murders


The man charged with killing a Seattle cab driver is a self-professed gang member, and police said the murderer of a sheriff’s deputy had a forearm tattoo bearing a sign of a gang, says the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Their deaths were front-page hallmarks of an increasing gang problem. “And there are so many (crimes) that don’t make the news,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Urquhart said. “Drive-by shootings, homicides, intimidation, and harassment — any crime you can think of has roots in gang crime.” There were 528 gang-related episodes in 2006 — an increase of 165 percent from the previous year.

In response, the King County Council called for nearly $408,000 in next year’s budget to help the Sheriff’s Office re-establish a gang-suppression unit, with two detectives and a sergeant. “The gang unit was cut years ago because of a budget shortfall, but it didn’t take away the fact that we still need it,” said Councilwoman Kathy Lambert. “In the ensuing years, it’s gotten to the point that gang members are killing police officers.”


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