Dallas has a serious gang issue and the police response has been dwindling at a time when the problem is increasing, according to a recent report.
The issue was tackled by the news channel WFAA8. It noted the diminishing size of Dallas Police’s gang unit. In previous years, there were 30 gang enforcement police officers and detectives. The station reported there are now just nine.
In contrast, Fort Worth has 28 officers and three sergeants assigned to its unit.
The station reported it spoke to a string of Dallas police officials who fear the police department lacks the manpower in its gang unit to respond to the gang threat. They didn’t want to be identified.
Wes Melton, a former cop, believes many of the murders committed in Dallas are linked to gang activity.
He carried out research that showed about 40 percent have gang connections. He spent large amounts of his own money on the research.
Melton said his research was dismissed by senior police officers who maintained there was not a serious gang problem in the city. Melton did not work in the gang unit but he collaborated with its members on a violent crimes task force.
The Channel 8 report cited evidence that Dallas is underestimating and undercounting its gang population. Part of the problem is there are not enough officers to document the scale of the problem. Last year police in Dallas said the gang menace was down. Experts were skeptical.
Those familiar with the situation say Dallas is drastically undercounting its gang population, largely because there’s not enough gang officers to properly document gang members.
The report said there are almost 10,000 documented gang members in Dallas. Fewer than 100 of those documented in the city are juveniles.
Melton said Dallas does not want to be associated with a gang problem. However, a rivalry between the city’s gangs increased in 2016.
Police pointed the TV channel to music videos posted on YouTube by groups calling themselves the Ben Frank Gang, or BFG, and YNB. Authorities are still looking into possible gang members.
One video starts with what seemed to be the kidnapping of a rival gang member’s sister.
Last year, we noted more gangs are joining forces to commit crimes in Texas.