Colorado is home to 12,741 confirmed gang members who are affiliated with 110 street gangs, the director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said yesterday, reports the Rocky Mountain News. Most of those gang members live in Denver, but experts suspect many more live in communities across the state not included in this count. Only 70 of the state’s 320 or so law enforcement agencies participate in the database.
Gangs are mobile, and their members spread drugs and violence into the suburbs, said Aurora Police Lt. Jim Welton. “They are every community’s problem,” he said. Standards for confirming a gang member to the database are strict. A person must admit to membership in a criminal gang; commit a gang-motivated crime; or exhibit a combination of two or more of these characteristics: wear gang clothing, display gang mannerisms, admit detailed knowledge of criminal street gang activity, write about being in a gang, admit using a gang name, or have tattoos indicating gang membership.