LUBBOCK,TX - The new Anti-Gang Center has taken on more cases, trying to put an end to the gang-related crimes in the South Plains area. The unit has been operating for a little over six months now, and already law enforcement in the area is seeing the benefits of the law agencies joining forces to combat gangs.
"Disrupt the criminal gang operations and structures, in other words, cut the head off of the snake," said Sheriff Kelly Rowe.
The anti-gang center hopes to combine their inside knowledge, undercover cops and confidential sources to stop gangs from operating in Lubbock.
"The ability to share that information, makes us much more successful in knocking out higher and higher levels of the organization," said Rowe.
We were unable to talk to officers who work with the anti-gang unit due to their inside work with gangs.
Right now, authorities say there are more than 56 gangs operating in Lubbock with more than 1,700 members. Those numbers come from a Texas database to which local agencies report. Names are added to that list after a certain amount of criteria is met to prove that person is connected to gang activity. This list helps the anti-gang unit learn about affiliations and ranks within gangs.
Rowe said many of these gangs try to profit off illegal drugs.
"The vast majority of the crimes committed, along with the rest of the state and country, is coming back to someone being addicted to something," he said.
He said cartels from Mexico bring the drugs. But once it's past the border, Lubbock is considered a great intersection for distribution.
"We are at a nexus point to hit major roadways that this stuff can then be trafficked further into the interior. However, we can see a tremendous amount of this quantify is being distributed right here in Lubbock," he said.
For now, the team is focused on putting the pressure on gangs and their drugs to stay out of Lubbock.
"My central message throughout this whole thing, we want to make Lubbock a location that these organizations understand it is unsafe, and there are much higher risks trying to conduct these criminal activities in this location," he said.
And now, with several agencies combining efforts, they have more resources to get gangs off the streets.
If you think there is gang activity going on in your neighborhood, the anti-gang unit asks you to report in anonymously.
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