A new kind of street gang is catching Washington, D.C.’s attention this summer, the Washington Post says. The emerging groups resemble more- regimented Los Angeles-style gangs much more than the loosely formed “crews” that have long dominated the capitol city’s neighborhoods, police say. Unlike the crews, they do not stick to any particular turf and they are not usually concentrated on the drug trade.
The main focus of membership in the new gangs usually is nothing more than being part of the gang itself and its life of constant recruiting and feuding in the heavily Latino neighborhoods the gangs share with rivals. Four people have been killed and two others injured in the past two months in shootings police have blamed on rivalries between Latino gangs. City officials have responded with promises of better law enforcement and intervention programs for youth.
Police and community activists say that by nearly any barometer — violence, graffiti or the use of distinctive colors — the gangs have been growing steadily and getting bolder in recent months.
The emerging gangs are much smaller than the membership attributed to the city’s older crews. There are four principal Latino gangs in the city, police say. Including the crews, federal authorities track about 240 gang-like groups in the city.