Friday, September 08, 2006

Gangs in the Burbs

I didn't say anything here about this when it happened, but a couple of months ago my sixteen-year-old was walking across a park in our neighborhood in Rockville late at night, within about a hundred feet of our house, when a bunch of guys jumped him and beat the crap out of him. They knocked him down and kicked him until he passed out. Busted his glasses and knocked his front tooth clean out -- we never were able to find it in the grass. Luckily the kid is tough and wasn't badly injured. He walked a little carefully for a week or so, but he's fine now, except for that hole in his grin. It was totally random, he'd never seen the guys before; he said they were older than him, like twenty.

I think of our neighborhood as basically a no-crime area. Yeah, some kids set fire to some cars down the street a few months ago, but they got caught bragging about it on MySpace. Not exactly hardened criminals. Just dumb stuff. We find a beer bottle along the curb occasionally, that's about it.

But now it's here.

The Washington Post:
Crime committed by gang members in Montgomery County has increased notably in recent months, and the number of identified members has also risen, an assistant police chief said yesterday during a congressional hearing.

Montgomery Assistant Chief John King told the House Committee on Government Reform that detectives had identified 930 gang members as of May, a 30 percent increase from November. Crime attributed to gang members increased 30 percent in those six months, contributing to surges in burglaries, robberies and vandalism, King said.

King said the three leading gangs in the county are Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, consisting primarily of Central American immigrants, and the Crips and the Bloods, which are made up largely of African Americans. During the second quarter of this year, Crips members were linked to 21 incidents, making that gang more active than the other two, which were linked to 18 each. Gang Figures Rising In Md.

I'd have to guess my kid's perpetrators were of the latter varieties, rather than the former.
Patrick Word, a detective with the Gaithersburg Police Department who is president of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Gang Investigators Network, said the counties have come a long way in the past couple of years.

Word, who did not attend the hearing, said local officials for many years played down the scope of the gang problem but now present a realistic assessment. "We don't have to preach that anymore," Word said. "People know there are gangs."

He said the rise in Crips and Bloods activity is by no means isolated to Montgomery County, and he urged elected officials and local leaders to not disregard the threat these gangs pose in the Washington region.

We have been reading about, basically, a crime wave in Washington DC, violent crime out of control. I guess it was only a matter of time before it spread to the suburbs.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is horrible what happened to your son, but I am very relieved to hear he's OK or will be once the missing tooth is replaced.

Thank goodness those punks didn't have guns! The tens of millions of handguns out there in the American marketplace make this gang problem even more frightening.


September 09, 2006 11:40 AM  

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