DPS: Gang violence and crime are a chief threat to public safety in Texas

April 17, 2014

According to an annual report released by the Department of Public Safety, gang violence and crime are a chief threat to public safety in Texas.

Texas Gang Threat Assessment, a report compiled to provide a broad overview of gang activity in Texas, is based on the collaboration between multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies.

"This assessment provides detailed information about the gangs operating in our state, which will enhance the ability of law enforcement to combat these dangerous organizations and their associates," said DPS director Steven McCraw.

Victoria Police Chief J.J. Craig said gangs are a prominent issue in Victoria and, in a previous interview, linked many crimes to organized gang activity.

Here are a few interesting findings from the report.

- Gangs continue to pose a substantial threat to public safety in Texas and are responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime in our communities.
- Many gangs in Texas continue to work with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs, weapons, people and cash across the border. The relationships between some gangs and cartels have evolved over the past year due in part to volatility and changes in cartel structures and relationships in Mexico.
- 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 (13 percent), and assault/terroristic threat (15 percent).
- Texas-based gangs, gang members and their associates are active in both human smuggling and human trafficking, which often includes sex trafficking and compelling prostitution of adult and minor victims. Gangs will continue to operate in human trafficking due to the potential for large and renewable profits and the assumed low risk of detection by law enforcement.
- Tango Blast remains the state’s most significant gang threat. The Tier 1 gangs in Texas are: Tango Blast and Tango cliques (more than 8,200 members); Texas Syndicate (more than 4,400 members); Texas Mexican Mafia (more than 5,500 members), and Barrio Azteca (more than 2,000 members).