Good Evening. Thanks for your interest in our special report: Wichita Gangs. We will be joined tonight by WPD Capt. Brent Allred and members of the police department's gang unit. They will answer your questions about how the unit operates and explain the importance of community involvement in the fight against gangs.
The story itself will air shortly on KWCH 12 Eyewitness News. Photojournalist George Taylor and I did a ride along with gang officer Donielle Watson. The story shows you what happened that night and shares a little history about WPDs efforts to fight gangs.
On our website you'll find a 2010 gang density map that shows the concentration areas of gang-related crime city wide. You'll see certain neighborhoods particularly in Northeast Wichita have higher concentrations, but smaller levels of gang-related crime can be found all across the city.
Through the course of our story we learned WPD has identified 64 different gangs in the city. New gangs continue to sprout up. In fact, two more names were added to the list just this year. WPD has documented more than 3000 gang members. The process by which gang members are documented is an interesting topic for you to ask police about.
In general this is a fairly safe area, however we would encourage citizens in that area to report any suspicous or criminal activity.
Kimberly, you can also check that crime density map to get an idea. Police will tell you a neighborhood is often as safe as the citizens who live there want to make it. Which comes down to being vigilant and reporting crimes.
Good idea Brian, the density map will show gang activity, however it's important to remember crime can occur throughout the city.
They feel a sense of belonging, money and maybe for the attention, you are correct usually leads to prison.
There is a state statue that defines the criteria for gang documentation, we also have a policy in place that mirrors the state statue. Look under K.S.A. 21-6313
Capt. Allred to expand little on David's question, could you maybe talk about the type of kids who are most likely to be targeted for recruitment by gangs?
Those kids will little to no family involvement, parents need to be involved with their kids activities.
They need to stop associating with the those individuals in gangs, have a mentor and be involved in faith based activities...not an easy road but can be done with some assistance and family involvement.
The density map will show the area with the most activity for 2010.
We look at crime trends and move resources to those areas where the majority of crime is occurring. I would say no to your question. I have never seen a report that list a ratio of police/gang members.
Mayra, you'll find some heavy concentrations along Hillside between Central and 21st. and along Arkansas between Central and 21st.
Staying in touch with the faith based community provides young people with good role models. I'm glad things have worked out for you.
David, I think working with church groups and gang outreach programs would be an effective and positive way for you to help some young people in need
Capt., could you elaborate on some of the steps WPD has taken over the years to learn more about gangs and how to get a handle on them?
Mayra, I believe if you look at the density map there is some activity in that area, but as we mentioned we have activity throughout the city that we monitor.
Sure, we attend yearly training, have officers and detectives dedicated to responding and investgating gang related crime. We rely on the community involvement to assist us daily.
We also have a Comprehensive Gang Plan that we update quarterly to address and gang related issues.
Capt., I believe the density map will show all "gang-related" crime. So that could include something like a home break-in done by gang members in a neighborhood they may not normally frequent, correct?
We have officers and detectives that work with the School Resource Officers in the schools to keep us informed of any activity.
Brian...that is correct, we track all gang activity including burglaries, drugs and thefts, etc,.
One thing OFC. Watson mentioned to me was that the gang members will often commit home break-ins during the day, stealing items such as TVs and video game systems to sell or trade.
Sure and as I mentioned before, it is important that we have citizens in the community that report any suspicious acitivty.
Mayra, I will defer to police. But I will say, you shouldn't ever feel afraid to leave your home in Wichita.
Mayra, Wichita is a safe city, however it is always important to be alert and aware of your surrounds,not matter the time of day.
Some of the indicators we use tattoos, handing out with other known gang members, wearing specific colors associated with certain gangs.
We are going to wrap it up. So please get us your last few questions. And again, thanks for watching the story tonight and thanks to the Wichita Police Department for all their cooperation with the story.
Mayra, I've heard that too. WPD, urban legend, or some truth?
In general, there are what we call hot spots each month that indicate where crime is occurring, the spots usually depend on the type of crime, but we have burglaries and thefts occuring throughout the city.
Shoes from the line do not mean there is gang activity in that area...urban legend.
It may have a little to do with the higher concentrations of gang related crime in the north. But as WPD has said a few times in this chat, gang crime is a city wide problem.
Good answer Brian, it is down this year, however we have remember it can always go back up if we become complacent as a community.
OK. Thank you all for participating. Let's give these officers a big thank you and let them get back to catching bad guys and keeping us all safe. WPD, thanks for all you do everyday. And thanks for the help on this story.
We appreciate being able to answer your questions and if there are more you can always reach us at 268-4191 (Gang Unit). Great story Brian.