The gang problem in the U.S. is growing and there are 1.4 million members in 33,000 gangs–a 40 percent increase from two years ago–says a new FBI study reported by Associated Press. Gangs are collaborating with transnational drug trafficking organizations to make more money and are expanding the range of their illicit activities, engaging in mortgage fraud and counterfeiting as well as trafficking in guns and drugs, says the 2011 national gang threat assessment.
Gang membership “continues to flourish” and gang leaders are striking new alliances with other criminal organizations for profit, said FBI agent Jayne Challman. White-collar crime is an increasing gang focus. The report cited the arrest of a member in a Los Angeles gang called Florencia 13 for operating a lab that manufactured pirated video games. Gang membership is up most significantly in the Northeast and Southeast and many communities report an increase in ethnic-based gangs such as African, Asian, and Caribbean gangs.