There are up to 500 bandits per one policeman in the United States … American cities are swept by a wave of street crime. All about crime in the United States.
The volunteers of the North American office of the Stringers Bureau of International Investigation - FBII - had enough to leave their homes to find themselves in the thick of a showdown between gangs.
A 15-year-old teenager is killed in a shootout in Oregon. Two were injured, and a third was shot in the face in the Bronx. Five are injured in a shootout in Colorado Springs. Five were shot during a showdown in St. Jesef, Montana. Six people were injured in a shootout in Yakima, Washington, one died. Thirteen people were injured in the shootout in Chicago, including a 3-year-old child and two teenagers.
All of these are the daily reports of the American police, passing under the strange heading of gang-related, which literally means "gang-related." This is how politically correct American cops bashfully call the bandit showdown, which has become the main scourge of large US cities in recent years. Although it's too late to be ashamed, it's time to ring all the bells - the FBI back in 2005 recognized street gangs, along with terrorism, as the main threat to US national security. Still, according to the official data of the federals, more than 33 thousand gangs operate in the country, and the total number of their members exceeds 1.4 million people! And do not be fooled, the FBI did not include in this list all American convicts (there are even more of them in the US - 2.2 million people), it means only active members of gangster groups, mostly young men. In other words, there are as many people in American gangs as in the entire US Army!
Gangs account for 48% of violent crimes committed in the country, and in some regions this figure even reaches 90%. "The worst is in the outskirts," says Joshua Washington, who was an AVLN gang member for 7 years and was recently released on parole. - It is generally better not to meddle in a foreign area of municipal high-rise buildings. In the suburbs it is different - the richer communities hire private security, then the gangs do not go there."
The cities in the north-east of the country, in California and in the Great Lakes region, are mainly affected - these are the most densely populated states of the United States and the consequences of the economic crisis are most noticeable here. “The sharp rise in street crime is one of those consequences,” says journalist and author of The Beginning of the End, Michael Snyder. - According to the data of the same Federal Bureau of Investigation in the spring of 2009, the number of gangs was estimated at 1 million people, that is, over the post-crisis years it increased by 40%! Where it is impossible to earn money legally, people are forced to commit a crime for the sake of survival”.
And an unexpected consequence of the sharp growth of criminal groups was a significant expansion of the scope of their activities. In addition to traditional racketeering and street trade in drugs and weapons, gangs have occupied new criminal niches for themselves - transporting illegal migrants, human trafficking, protecting prostitution. But even more frightening, gangs have begun to master high-tech, so-called "white-collar" crimes: counterfeiting, credit fraud and identity theft.
FBI retrogrades habitually divide gangs into street gangs, prison gangs, and motorized gangs. At the same time, the division into street and prison is very conditional - the only difference is on which side of the prison fence the gang was originally organized (in the overwhelming majority of cases, gangs operate on both sides of it). And motorized gangs or OMGs are hairy bikers from Hell's Angels, Pagans and other Bandidos, repeatedly sung by Hollywood. Until the beginning of the 90s, they really played a noticeable role in the criminal world, but back in the 80s, Latin Americans began to actively squeeze them out, who today unconditionally settled on the criminal Olympus of the United States.
The largest West Coast gang, the 18th Street Gang (18th Street Gang or M18), emerged in Los Angeles in the 1960s and today has 65,000 active members in 120 cities and 37 states. Distinctive features of gang members are tattoos or stripes on clothes with various writing options for the number 18 - XVIII, 9 + 9, 666, etc.
The Latin Kings gang was formed by Puerto Ricans in Chicago even earlier - in the 40s. Today, 42,000 members operate in 160 cities and 31 states. At the same time, the gang is considered the most disciplined and organized, and its ideology is based on "kingism", which the members of the group call their religion. Distinctive signs - tattoos with a three- or five-toothed crown.
The largest and most brutal Latin American gang "Mara Salvatrucha" (Mara Salvatrucha or MS-13) was founded in the 1980s by immigrants from El Salvador who poured into the United States. For the sake of intimidation, its members cover the entire body and even face with tattoos, and their trademark is murder with a machete. In total, the gang has about 70,000 members, not only in the United States, but also in Latin American countries.
The already large numbers become even worse when you consider that the majority of gang members are men of 18-25 years old. And bandit recruits begin to recruit recruits even among schoolchildren. Schools are the fourth largest crime recruiting hub, according to a report on Tackling Youth Violence for the US Congress. Every fifth American student receives an offer to join a gang.
“It is enough to offer a colored guy to deliver a parcel to the right address and promise $ 100 for it,” shares his experience Joshua Washington. - The next day he comes to get money. And when you get a hundred in your hands, it is almost impossible to refuse another offer. You get used to free money quickly."
This is what the gangs use. The most common age for converts to group members is 10-12 years. Moreover, there are more cases when gang recruiters "carry out work" among first-graders (in the USA they go to school from 5-6 years old). “Gangs are worse than terrorists,” says psychologist Mary Joe Rapini. - They take advantage of childish naivety and low self-esteem. Children consider themselves small, defenseless, unable to do anything, and joining a gang gives them a sense of their own importance, care and safety."
However, experts also see the activation of gangs in schools, first of all, for macroeconomic reasons. If in 2000 more than half of American adolescents had a job and, accordingly, could earn pocket money, then in 2011 this figure dropped to 29.6%. In addition, educational optimization was carried out in many states - due to funding cuts, some schools in cities were closed, and students were transferred to neighboring institutions. The gangs could only take advantage of the natural confrontation between newcomers and old-timers.
How did the FBI respond to this? Prepared a brochure for teachers that allows them to recognize the symbols of gangs in the drawings with which students decorate their notebooks and backpacks.
No money - no cops
There is nothing to say about the police - it simply does not have enough funds to adequately respond to the rampant crime. “While the number of gangs in Chicago has increased from 500 to 600 over the past two years, police funding has decreased by $ 67 million over the past two years, resulting in a 1,300 reduction in personnel,” Michael Snyder says. “And this despite the fact that in the city of 3 million people, according to various sources, there are from 70,000 to 100,000 people in gangs, and there are only 200 police officers in the unit for combating criminal gangs. That is, there are up to 500 bandits per one cop. Not surprisingly, Chicago is among the world's leaders in the number of homicides and surpasses even Mexico City and São Paulo in this indicator.”
Although in neighboring Detroit, the situation is even worse. The bankrupt "capital of the car industry" is so lacking in money that in January of this year, the mayor decided to liquidate the unit for combating organized crime altogether. If 10 years ago there were 5,000 policemen in the city, now only half are left. Due to budget cuts, most sites are closed 16 hours a day, less than 10% of crimes are investigated. The result is appropriate - last year the number of murders in the city increased by 13%, and the unemployment rate exceeded 18%. Is it any surprise that Detroit has the second highest violent crime rate in the country and is consistently ranked first on Forbes' list of the most unhappy cities in the United States?
The situation is no better in the richest state of the country - California. The local leader in the number of violent crimes - Oakland - has fired a quarter of police officers due to budget cuts, which led to a 43% increase in theft last year. Neighboring cities are selling police equipment and helicopters, and Los Angeles lacks money to keep prisoners. As a result, criminals who have served 40% of their term will be released from prisons. Moreover, the program includes rapists and murderers.
Showdown or war?
A holy place is never empty, the streets freed from the police are taking control of criminal groups. Moreover, they often do their "job" better than the state. “For residents of ethnic areas, gang control is even preferable,” says Mary Jo Rapini. - Members of gangs speak the same language with them, act according to the usual "laws", give a feeling of security, and, if necessary, provide work. The problem is that adolescents who grew up in such an environment see before them only one path for social growth - joining a gang."
However, in a gang, as in any hierarchical system, “achievements” are needed to move up the “career ladder”. And they are most often committed in the territory controlled by a rival group. Hence the incessant shootings, thousands of wounded and hundreds of killed. “This is most reminiscent of a war of clans,” says Matt Little, former Iraqi and Afghani sergeant of the Chicago unit for combating organized crime. - Guys run through the streets and indiscriminately shoot in all directions. Those over 30 are no longer visible on the streets - they either lead or are in prison. The level of cruelty here is such that only a few survive to this age."
However, the level of professionalism in the gangs is growing. In the last two years alone, the FBI has registered 53 cases of mass dispatch by gangs of their members to the active army. There they study combat tactics, modern types of weapons and equipment. It’s scary to imagine what will begin on the streets when professionally trained killers rush there.
Although, it seems that Washington has already thought out such a development of events. Even in the National Security Strategy adopted in 2006, in the event of large-scale disasters, a partial transfer of functions of local authorities to the military was allowed. Two years later, it became clear that the US authorities were preparing not only for natural disasters - in the Strategy for the Modernization of the Armed Forces, organizations with a radical anti-government ideology were added to the list of threats to national security. In 2010, the Pentagon held an exercise that trained military forces to quell civil unrest in the event of an economic collapse. And since May 13, 2013, following the amendment of Federal Regulatory Act 32, the US military has been given official authority "under extraordinary circumstances to temporarily assume responsibility for suppressing large-scale riots." True, if the government puts army units and heavy equipment against 1.4 million armed bandits, then this will no longer be a suppression of riots, but a real civil war.