Earlier this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) released the Texas Gang Threat Assessment, which was developed to provide a broad overview and update of gang activity in Texas.
"The findings in this report are further evidence that the State of Texas must continue to do all it can to proactively and aggressively combat gangs operating in our state," said Governor Greg Abbott. "Over the last few years, we have expanded the number of Texas Anti-Gang Centers, and initiated and supported violent crime task forces in our state. With gangs continuing to pose a serious threat to public safety in Texas, our residents can rest assured that we will remove these ruthless criminals from the streets and bolster the safety and security of our communities."
Significant findings in the assessment include:
Gangs are a significant threat to public safety in Texas.
Gangs in Texas continue to work closely with the Mexican cartels.
Gangs assessed with a Tier 1 ranking pose the greatest gang threat to the state.
Some members within traditional gangs, such as Texas Syndicate and Texas Mexican Mafia, operate independently of the gang.
Younger gang members are relinquishing traditional gang structure and rules, opting for less organizational oversight and the freedom to serve in self-interested roles.
Motorcycle gangs continue to challenge the dominance of the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang in Texas.
Gangs use social media to communicate, boast and recruit.
"Gangs and their associates remain a significant threat to public safety, not only because of their penchant for violence and criminal activity, but also their relationships with other criminal organizations, such as Mexican cartels," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "This report provides an overview of the gangs operating in Texas, which gives law enforcement critical information to help protect our communities from these violent organizations."
The Texas Anti-Gang (TAG) Centers are funded by grants from the Criminal Justice Division of the Texas Governor's Office to support targeted, regional approaches to combating gang violence. This includes partnerships between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to closely coordinate activities related to the prevention, intervention and suppression of gang-related crime and violence. DPS supports each of the six TAG centers across the state — with locations in Houston, Irving, El Paso, Lubbock, San Antonio and McAllen. Additionally, at Gov. Abbott's direction, DPS continues to commit resources and personnel to violent crime prevention operations in Houston, San Antonio and Killeen.
The Texas Gang Threat Assessment evaluates and classifies gangs to identify which organizations represent the most substantial threat. The report reveals that there are as many as 100,000 gang members across the state. The assessment is based on the collaboration between and contributions by multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies across the state and nation.
To view the full Texas Gang Threat Assessment, please visit the DPS website.