KIRBY, Texas - As the culture continues to change, local police departments say gang activity is transforming, as well.
Detective Jason Rendon, with the Kirby Police Department, said the new gangs are called hybrid gangs, which are mainly made up of teenagers.
“They are getting younger and younger,” Rendon said. “These gangs are not your traditional gang that you see like the Bloods or Crips or Mexican Mafia members. Here, you have a mixture of cultures that are all dedicated to chasing the dollar.”
He said they can be hard to track because of various reasons.
“They don’t follow the tradition of being together because of race, culture or location,” Rendon said. “They are all about the money. Because they are so young, they don’t have the traditional tattoos identifying them.”
Rendon said these groups tend to switch up a lot.
“What they will do is band together, do what they are doing and then they will break up and be against each other the following week,” Rendon said. “One week, they are friends and buddies, and then the next week, they are enemies and going at each other and doing drive-bys on themselves when they were in drive-bys together the week before.”
Rendon also said social media is the new street corner that keeps them hidden from police. San Antonio police agree.
“Many of the teenagers associated with hybrid gangs look to social media and often try to imitate rappers and musicians,” said Sgt. Michelle Ramos, with the San Antonio Police Department.
“They don’t stand on the street corners to do drug deals nowadays. They use social media for everything. They will set up all of their stuff via social media, which parents need to monitor,” Rendon said. “Pay attention to who they are talking to, what they are selling, who they are hanging around.”
Rendon said though this is something that is not new, he feels the millennial era is making more and more hybrid gangs become bolder.
“They just need to know that this is not worth it,” Rendon said. “They are going to pay the price in the end. They are going to play these games. They are not going to like the road they are going down. There is no light at the end of this tunnel with the game that they are playing. There is no retirement plan for what they are putting into this.”
Now, as police departments raise awareness about this hybrid gang issue, they are asking everyone to stay vigilant and to always report any suspicious activity happening in their neighborhood.
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