Despite recent high-profile violence involving gang members in Dallas, gang-related crime is down in the city, police officials tell the Dallas Morning News. Gang experts say that while gangs have changed over the years, the culture they represent is still here and in need of fixing. “You ain't got nothing in terms of gang prevention and intervention services down there,” said Greg Knox of the Illinois-based National Gang Crime Research Center. Knox said gangs don't come to the fore in people's minds anymore because federal authorities have weakened their centralized hierarchy, making them more of a neighborhood clique than a regional or even national power. “But they still have interfaces with each other — alliances, liaisons,” Knox said. “Their networks still exist.”
Dallas police say they have documented 103 street gangs, more than 6,000 gang members and 3,700 associates, although about 2,300 of the nearly 10,000 people in the system are set to go through a routine purge from it. The department has eight officers and a sergeant actively working on the gang unit street enforcement. Knox said that isn't enough. Fort Worth, for instance, has a department half the size of Dallas but counts 32 officers working in the gang unit as street enforcement, prevention, intervention and detectives. Dallas First Assistant Police Chief Charlie Cato counters that the department's strategies have been effective. Gang-related murders, aggravated assaults and other crimes are way down this year, he said.