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Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Wacky crime stats in PI gang story

posted by on December 6 at 16:05 PM

Today’s P.I. article on rising gang activity in Seattle strikes me as a little under-reported. The story refers to a 25 percent rise in Seattle gun assaults, but the Seattle Police Department says they don’t have that statistic. Their website shows about a 5 percent rise in aggravated assaults as of October of this year compared to the same period last year. And it doesn’t mean police have linked those firearm assaults to gangs — they haven’t. Both the P.I.’s story and a similar recent article in the Times cite an increase in the number of cases referred to the SPD’s gang unit — but police acknowledge that not all of the cases referred to the gang unit are gang related. And just because we might have a few gang bangers, it doesn’t necessarily follow that we have the kind of organized groups of occasionally psychopathic thugs who cause serious problems in Los Angeles and Chicago. Where’s the proof? How do we know this isn’t drug related crime? I’m not saying gangs don’t exist in Seattle. But hyping gangs is an easy way to get federal dollars (it’s a Bush priority), and I get the sense some of those federal dollars might be better spent….

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Not sure about the stats, but there was a definite rise in shootings this year within a mile radius of my house in the CD. Most of them appeared to be about random thugs settling personal scores. Not sure if that qualifies as "gang" related.

Posted by Sean | December 6, 2006 4:28 PM

Yes, yes, Angela is right, there are no *real* gangs in here - not that force rival gang members to strip naked before they kill them and dump their bodies in a ditch, and later kill a police officer investigating another shooting. No way, no real gang activity here. After all, this is Seattle!

Posted by JTR | December 6, 2006 5:23 PM

I think Ms Valdez’ point is valid. She is not saying violent things don’t happen here. But it is not the same thing as places like LA and Chicago. In those cities there are shootings EVERY DAY at least twice a day and a gang related murder every week. You can stroll down Pico and Union and 18th st in LA and trust me you will KNOW there is a gang problem, you will feel it. There is a culture of gangs and impoverished thugs that have grown up in that gang cycle. The numbers in Seattle don’t support the rise in gang activity scenario. BGD’s exist here, but they are not as active as they were in the early 90’s, and they damn sure are not as active as they are in Chicago, there is no FOLKS and PEOPLES war here. Man, you can see BGD’s dealing at the AM PM on MLK freely, I see them every night, with some Bloods and they’re just chilling. To me it sounds more like drug beefs.

Who knows if the guy who shot deputy Cox was fighting for turf, I doubt it, the BGD’s aren’t a Burien White Center menace, Im sure some BGDS live there or were pushed out of the Rainier Valley not because of police laws but because rent was cheaper so their families moved there. I don’t know, maybe he was a BGD a long time ago and still has the tattoo. Yes he is a murderering socio path, but who is to say all that was gang related. I still have a Latin kings tattoo, it doesn’t mean anything other than I was involved in that nonsense as a kid. Violent random acts happen, but gang turf wars just aren’t the reality of Seattle. So called gang experts here are whacked. Im with Valdez on this one. It doesn’t mean there aren’t things here and there and violent people exist. I mean you could still get capped here, but this city is very safe for a city this size. But violent crime does happen.

Posted by SeMe | December 6, 2006 5:39 PM

In my experience, Seattle's criminal class is not motivated by the same factors Los Angeles is. These thug kids here are, dare I say...smarter here. Not as organized and regimented, but their motivations aren't as destructive. Totally agree, Seme. I've been here 7 years, from L.A., survived the Los Angeles gang wars of the 80s, still got my nieghborhood blasted on my stomach but outgrew the kids stuff.

Pico Union is the home to one of the deadliest and oldest 18th St Chapter, the birthplace of the notorious OFA graf crew that has members all theway up here (the original L.A. chapter from Pico Union was annexed by 18th St in the 90s and is now a gangh though), it is the birth place of Mara Salva Trucha (the domestic terror menace du jour for the U.S. these last couple years), a Hoover Crip set and Clanton 14st, the oldest gang in Los Angeles which dates back 100 years. It is so out of control that 10 years ago the city actually had to sue the 18th St Gang to get injunctions that assisted in supressing their activity, which only caused a power vaccuum for other gangs in the area and adjacent neighborhoods to fill, contributing to alot more blood shed than usual (imagine a miniature post-Saddam Iraq). Pico Union is also patrolled by L.A.P.D.s notorious Rampart Division wich is so corrupt and in fact itself a gang that needs to be dimantled. That's no exageration.

There just aren't those kinds of incurable, institutional dysfunctions in Seattle. The gangs and thugs here are very much interested in generating income in the city's silent economy and have little interest in the Cowboy antics that are routine in a wasteland like Pico-Union. There is gang violence here (largely outside City limits) but this City by no means operates under any dynamic remotely similar. It has a rich tradition of activism that to this day lends itself to minimizing the potential for unchecked gang violence. That Cowboy attitude will not get you very far here. That's not what these kids are about.

Posted by FKA Mouse Loco de BWSVAGX3 HRSN BLK DUKES | December 6, 2006 6:12 PM

well said, holmes.
people confuse 'violence' with 'gang violence' when certain types of people are involved. just like how it was nothing not long ago to hear your average seattleite classify any given group of hiphop-attired black males on the street as 'gangsters'.

Posted by lar | December 7, 2006 11:43 AM

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