Tampa Bay Gangs & Gang Intervention Resources
Though Tampa has not experienced the degree of gang violence and crime that other major metropolitan cities have (Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, etc.), the continued growth and importation of gangs in the Tampa Bay community poses a serious threat to public safety.
The resources in this section are provided to assist Tampa Bay communities in recognizing the presence of gangs and developing effective strategies to interdict gang activity.
Youth Gangs in Tampa Bay
According to the Florida Gang Investigators Association (FGIA), there are over two dozens youth gangs operating in the Tampa Bay area. Some of these gangs are "sets" sponsored by national gang alliances ('Folk Nation' or 'People Nation'), while others are grass-roots gangs indigenous to Tampa Bay.
Some of the youth gangs active in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties include:
Though Tampa Bay gangs tend to maintain a visible presence in the neighborhoods where members live, many Tampa area gangs are very mobile and commit crimes outside of any "turf" boundaries. For example, members of a gang based out of an apartment complex in Carollwood may be found stealing cars or harassing shoppers at the Westshore Mall.
Many Tampa Bay gangs engage in criminal enterprise such as illicit drug sales, burglaries, and auto theft. Other common crimes associated with gangs include weapons possession, criminal mischief (grafitti vandalism), and loitering around homes and businesses. Violent crimes, such as battery and murder, have also been prepetrated by gang members. Violence may ensue due to conflicts between rival gangs, personal disputes, or as a form of intimidation to enforce loyalty and silence in the community where the gang lives.
For more information about Florida youth gangs and youth gang culture, click here visit the Florida Department of Corrections' gang awareness web site.
Recognizing Gang Presence
Gang intervention usually works best if intervention occurs before the gang develops a strong and loyal base of members. This requires early recognition that a gang is emerging or operating in a new area.
Some possible indicators of gang emergence include:
Changes in the way some neighborhood youths dress (wearing similar "colors", tatoos, rolled pant legs, wearing all clothes and jewelry slanted to one side, wearing colored bandanas, etc.)
Parents may also notice changes in their children. To determine if your child is possibly associating with a gang, check out the gang awareness page for parents provided by the National Alliance of Gang Investigators Associations.
To aid in determining if gang activity is already present in your community, the Florida Gang Investigators Assocaition web site includes a useful tool for assessing the probable degree of gang activity in neighborhoods. Click here to access the FGIA's Gang Assessment Tool.
Preventing Gang Infiltration in Communities
Gangs succeed best in disorganized environments where youths are unsupervised and have few activities to keep them occupied. To prevent gangs from establishing a foothold in neighborhoods, parents of the community must take an active role in supervising their children's activities. Non-parental community members can contribute by serving as positive role models for children and by assisting in keeping the neighborhood clean and in good repair. Maintaining an organized environment discourages criminals, including gangs, from establishing presence.
Fore more assistance in preventing gang infiltration, check out the following web sites:
|Useful Resources & Links
National Youth Gang Center (NYGC)
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) Gang Supression Unit
Tampa Police Department