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Gang Influence Runs Deep in Phoenix's Roots

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In 1998, police reported only 331 violent incidents involving street gangs.

Gang membership is alternately reported as up by several thousand members (in Phoenix police reports) or down by several thousand (in recent state criminal justice commission reports). An increase in membership should result in an increase in gang crime. But that's not the case, and law enforcement authorities say any boost in the numbers is likely because of better reporting, particularly since police started keeping track of gang members in sophisticated computer databases, rather than new gang members.

"Gangs are not as popular as they were 10 years ago," says Ferrero. "It's not as socially acceptable. Ten years ago, girls would fall all over you if you were in a gang."

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Contact Patti Epler at her online address: [email protected]

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Patti Epler
Contact: Patti Epler