The Texas Department of Public Safety has released the 2012 Texas Gang Threat Assessment, which provides a broad overview of gang activity in the state.
The report revealed that current gang membership across Texas likely exceeds 100,000 individuals, with more than 2,500 gangs operating throughout the state and many in the San Antonio area.
According to the DPS report, Region 6 which includes San Antonio is home to a few of Texas' most established gangs including the Texas Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate and Tango Blast, which has superseded the Mexican Mafia to become the state's biggest threat.
“Those are your top level organizations, which is where law enforcement focuses the majority of its attention,” said Eddie Gonzales, a recently retired member of SAPD’s gang unit. “But there are a whole bunch of smaller street gangs as well that focus on more low-level stuff.”
Gonzales said San Antonio has been a hot spot recently, but also pointed to other, outlying towns where the law enforcement presence may not be as intense.
“They’ll set up shop in places like Hondo and Kendall County sometimes, as well,” said Gonzales.
Other gangs in the region include the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Bloods and Crips, Latin Kings and Gangster Disciples.
The report also stated gangs are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in communities with many gangs now actively involved in running prostitution rings because of its profitability and the gangs’ perception that it’s a relatively low-risk crime.
State officials said the point of the assessment is not to scare the public, but to provide a clear picture of gang trends and activity so law enforcement can better target those areas.
“A lot of those trends depend on what law enforcement is focusing on the most,” said Gonzales. “These guys are just businessmen, so they’re not really wedded to any particular business; just the one that pays the most.”
The Gang Threat Assessment is based on the collaboration between multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies across Texas and nation.
Read more about the assessment by clicking on the links provided: