What you need to know about gangs and gang violence in Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Gang violence is a growing concern among Houston neighborhoods and the law enforcement agencies which patrol them.

The FBI says these gangs aren't sophisticated or well organized, but use violence to control communities and profit from their crimes.

Sadly, 10 children have been killed because of gang violence in Houston in the last year.

The Houston area alone has at least 20,000 documented gang members, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tells ABC13.

HPD takes aim at gangs after shooting deaths of 10 children
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HPD Chief Art Acevedo said gang members who kill children will not get a slap on the wrist.

But gangs aren't just an inner city problem. The FBI says suburban areas in the Greater Houston area are seeing growing gang influence through the sale of illicit drugs.

Within time and without law enforcement intervention, the danger to these communities can come in the form of drive-by shootings, homicides and other violent crimes as territory wars break out among rival gangs, the FBI says.

30 Houston gangs identified
In the United States, there are more than 33,000 active and violent street, motorcycle and prison gangs. While this list is not all inclusive, here are just some of the gangs police have identified in the Houston area:
  • 18th Street
  • 52 Hooves-Crips/SE 52 Hoovas
  • 59 Bounty Hunters
  • 59 Piru
  • 5th Ward Circle
  • Aryan Brotherhood
  • Aryan Circle
  • Austin Tango Blast (ATX)
  • Bandidos
  • Barrio Azteca
  • Bloods
  • Crips
  • Dallas Tango Blast (D-Town)
  • Fort Worth Tango Blast (Foritos)
  • Hermanos Pistoleros Latinos (HPL)
  • Houstone Tango Blast
  • La Primera
  • Latin Disciples
  • Latin Kings (ALKN)
  • Los Zeta
  • Mexican Mafia
  • MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha)
  • Raza Unida
  • Rio Grande Valley Tango Blast (Valluco)
  • San Antonio Tango Blast (Orejones)
  • Southwest Cholos
  • Texas Mexican Mafia (Mexikanemi)
  • Texas Syndicate
  • Treetop Bloods/Hilltop Bloods
  • West Tango

How to identify a gang problem
If you are concerned gangs might be moving into your area, look for these identifiers. They can be red flags of gang influence in your neighborhood:
  • Gang related signs, symbols or tattoos
  • Bandanas, flags or rags of a particular color
  • An increase in weapon incidents
  • People with distinct nicknames
  • People with unexplained large amounts of cash and no/limited employment
  • Drug usage or the sale of drugs
  • Children with sudden detachment from family members
  • Group photos displaying hand signs or other gang identifiers
  • Tattoos written in pen, marker or homemade
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