A raging street war between two Hmong gangs in Sacramento, Ca., has left three dead since Thanksgiving and spread hundreds of rounds of ammunition throughout the city, reports the Sacramento Bee. In response, gang detectives have more than doubled their presence on the streets, to as many as 30 some nights. With nightly warrant sweeps and probation searches, they’re trying to get inside information on notoriously closed-mouth criminals.
Asian gangs are not the only concern. In the past 12 months, other gang attacks have claimed the lives of a high school student and at least 19 others. With approximately 5,000 gang members countywide, police, sheriff’s and probation officials are trying to stay ahead of what they say will be a greater crime wave come spring. Conflict over drug turf, especially the lucrative methamphetamine trade, can trigger violence among any of the area’s gangs. A deadly exchange can be prompted by something far simpler: a dirty look, a fight over a girlfriend, allegiance to the wrong neighborhood. Many younger gang members kill simply to make a name for themselves. Veteran detectives say the street violence has become more brutal and indiscriminate over the past decade. Incidents of gang-related shootings, stabbings or threats have become a daily occurrence. One in every five killings in Sacramento city and county last year – 20 of 102 slayings – was gang-related, up from nine gang homicides in 2000.