New anti-gang operations center created

May 17, 2012 3:13:12 PM PDT
There are some 15,000 gang members in the Houston area, but law enforcement is hoping a new approach and a new center will help them better fight violent criminal gangs.

Dozens of federal, state, and local enforcement agencies make up this team, now working together to take down criminals specifically involved in gang-related activity. It's a problem law enforcement says is widespread.

"It's really all over, they have no boundaries," explained Houston Police Department Assistant Chief John Trevino. "That's why this is so important."

Gang-related activity is no new problem on the streets of Harris County, but it is one that law enforcement says they will continue to fight aggressively -- even more so now with the formation of the Texas Anti-Gang Operations Center.

FBI Special Agent Carlos Barron said, "Our goal with the FBI is to bring every resource the FBI has to bear and help this community effort, because really at the end of the day this is a law enforcement community effort that will help the community."

Headquartered in an undisclosed location, the team making up this task force, otherwise known as TAG, consists of 100 of the region's top investigators. All of them for the first time are centralized in one location.

"They'll be under one roof," said Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos. "I will station two prosecutors there, for the warrants, legal guidance and so forth, and with the intel they will then develop their intel and tactics."

With two major ports, airports, interstates, railroads and trucking, Harris County is a hub for gangs and there's no safe place.

"What we're finding is no place in the city is immune to any type of gang activity," Trevino said.

With at least 200 known gangs, and thousands of identified gang members, all you have to do is look around. You'll see the tagging of graffiti. One man we spoke to fears for his family's safety.

Resident Demontrion Young said, "The stuff is serious, it is really serious. There are kids out there. I have kids and I don't let them go outside."

Young, who has worked security at apartment complexes in the southwest part of the city, says the violence gets worse at night.

"They're going to come out at night," he said. "You hear the gunshots at night all the time."

This operations center was made possible through a $1.7 million grant from Governor Rick Perry's office.

Load Comments