Phoenix area police call them the junior varsity of street gangs, says the Arizona Republic. Party crews are groups of teenagers who move from city to city setting up in vacant homes, businesses, warehouses, the middle of the desert or even taking over a smaller party and making it their own. Police say party crews have been growing in popularity. They partner to organize and advertise a party. They charge a few dollars at the door and often provide a keg of beer and a DJ.
The crews’ parties can lead to crimes – everything from underage drinking and vandalism to assaults and shootings. “It just makes life miserable for the people in those neighborhoods,” said Lt. Fred Zumbo, who heads up a gang-enforcement unit for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Police aren’t sure why they’re becoming such a problem now. “It’s hard to say,” Zumbo said. “A lot has to do with the economy, and a need to generate revenue for illegal activities,” such as buying guns and drugs. “It’s just really hard to say why they’ve exploded.”