A “violent gangs” task force of local and federal cops arrested nearly 50 Seattle area men in a four-month span, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. “It sends a message that wherever you are, we will come after you with the full weight of the law,” said Kelvin Crenshaw of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Those arrested represented about a dozen different gangs of all ethnic backgrounds in King County, Sheriff Sue Rahr said.
Crenshaw said task-force members began by identifying 20 of the most violent gangsters in the region. Rahr, who once led the gang unit at the Sheriff’s Office, said focusing on the violent gang members instead of individual criminal acts is a smart strategy that should reduce street violence. “It disrupts the leadership,” she said. Most local law enforcement agencies have noted a rise in gang activity. The Seattle police gang unit has handled more cases this year, in excess of 100, than it did in all of 2005.