April 1. 2013
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released the 2012 Texas Gang Threat Assessment, which was developed to provide a broad overview of gang activity in the state of Texas.
“While gangs continue to pose a significant threat to public safety in Texas, we are committed to protecting the people of Texas from these criminals,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “By providing a clear depiction of gang trends and activity across the state, this assessment enhances the ability of DPS and our law enforcement partners to debilitate these organizations.”
The 2012 Texas Gang Threat Assessment was developed according to statute, which requires the Texas Fusion Center to submit to the Governor and Texas Legislature an annual report assessing the threat posed by statewide criminal gangs. The report is based on the collaboration between multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies across the state and nation, whose contributions were essential in creating this comprehensive overview of gang activity in Texas.
“We know that gangs are one of the top organized-crime threats to the state of Texas,” said Sen. Craig Estes, chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security. “Thankfully, intelligence such as this makes it possible for our frontline law enforcement partners to effectively target these gangs and protect the people of this great state.”
“This Texas Gang Threat Assessment will be a major asset in the fight against crime in our cities and towns,” said Rep. Joe Pickett, chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. “This type of information regarding gang trends and relationships is essential in dismembering and disrupting these callous criminal organizations.”
The assessment details the state’s systematic approach to evaluating and classifying gangs in order to identify which organizations represent the most substantial threat. The report reveals that current gang membership across the state likely exceeds 100,000 individuals, with more than 2,500 gangs operating throughout the state.
Additional significant findings include:
Gangs continue to pose a substantial threat to public safety in Texas and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in our communities.
Of the incarcerated members of Tier 1 and Tier 2 gangs, more than half are serving a sentence for a violent crime, including robbery (25 percent), homicide (14 percent), and assault/terroristic threat (12 percent).
Several gangs are now actively involved in running prostitution rings because of its profitability and the gangs’ perception that it’s a relatively low-risk crime.
Tango Blast has superseded the Mexican Mafia to become the state’s most significant gang threat. The Tier 1 gangs in Texas are: Tango Blast (estimated at 10,000 members); Texas Syndicate (4,500 members); Barrio Azteca (3,500 members); and Texas Mexican Mafia (6,000 members).
Many Tier 1 and Tier 2 gangs will continue to constitute a significant threat to Texas due to their relationships with Mexican cartels, large membership, and high levels of transnational criminal activity.
To view the full 2012 Texas Gang Threat Assessment, visit: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/media_and_communications/TXGangThreatAssessment.pdf.