After a decade of decline, gang-related graffiti, robberies, shootings, and stabbings in Utah are on the rise, says the Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s the most active that I’ve seen it,” said Lex Bell, a Salt Lake Area Gang Project detective. In Salt Lake County, gangs are growing too rapidly for investigators to quantify, with recruitment at an all-time high, Bell said.
Unlike the older generation of gangsters, who don’t display gang colors and avoid attracting attention to themselves, the new recruits unabashedly flash their bandanas and gang signs. It is common to see members of the Latino gang Sure os with blue hats and clothing and hanging a blue bandana from their mirror, as many gang members did in the 1980s and early ’90s. “We’re seeing shootings based on colors again,” Bell said. Police fear that in coming years, the violent Latino gang La Mara Salvatrucha, or MS13, will establish a strong presence in Utah and assimilate about 2,500 documented Sure os into its organization, making it incredibly powerful, Bell said.