Presentation on theme: "Matthew O’Deane, PhD & Carter Smith, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD), 2010 Apr 27 articles/articles/online/2010/gangs_in _the_military.html."— Presentation transcript:
Matthew O’Deane, PhD & Carter Smith, J.D., Ph.D. (ABD), 2010 Apr 27 articles/articles/online/2010/gangs_in _the_military.html
Members of most street gangs have been identified on military installations worldwide. Although most prevalent in the Army, the Army Reserves and the National Guard, gang activity is found throughout all branches of the military. The extent of gang presence in the armed services is difficult to determine since many enlisted gang members conceal their gang affiliation.
Military and police departments across the U.S. have been infiltrated by gangs wanting access to weapons or sensitive information regarding investigations The threat need not come from the traditional worker. Those who control the finances and personnel assignments, as well as those who oversee logistics shipments can exploit their positions for the gang's benefit. Those holding dual positions must be watched.
Many gang members have bypassed these prohibitions and enlisted in the military by failing to report past criminal convictions or by using fraudulent documents. Some gang members conceal past convictions or are told by recruiters they can enlist as long as they do not have any felony arrests or convictions. Some enter the criminal justice system as juveniles and their criminal records are sealed and unavailable to recruiters performing criminal background checks. It is the policy of the U.S. Army (and other branches) to provided equal opportunity and treatment for all soldiers without regard to race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.
Dependent children of service members are involved with gangs and bring gang problems onto secure military facilities. These children are potential candidates for gang membership because of the transient nature of their families. Dependents of military members may be involved in gang-involved drug distribution and assaults both on and off of military bases.
The impact of gang members in the military might be compared to the rate of gang crime in a city of over 1 million inhabitants The rate of military gang-related crime could more accurately be compared to the rate of gang-related crime in a large company, Wal-Mart or McDonalds, as examples. Employees are distributed throughout many locations and are expected to favorably represent the company in their communities. Denial is not a recommended response, but it occurs at all levels of government and communities. When leaders of large, urban police departments refuse to acknowledge a gang presence in their cities, this may not mean gangs are absent. Politics is one of the factors that make it increasingly difficult for police officers to eliminate gangs from their community. Gang migration and other growth indicators of gangs can actually be aided by official denial.
These are people who have "overcome mistakes." There is no test for ″ overcoming mistakes. ″ Both traditional extremists and street gangs tell their people how to ″ get past ″ the questions that police ask them. They thought that the symbol looked cool (graffiti and tattoos). In the gang world, false representing membership in a gang by displaying symbols of a gang you are not a member of may result in grievous bodily harm or death. If a non-gang member tattooed or painted a symbol he/she (and the tattoo artist) would be sought out by members of the gang that symbol represented as a perpetrator. One of the reasons for this predictable response is what is known as false flagging. The problem is not rampant. Waiting until a problem is “rampant” gives the gangs an unnecessary head start. In 1998, the FBI rate membership in the military the number three reason for migratory gangs (after formal-corporate employment and informal-laborer employment).
Members of nearly every major street gang, including the Bloods, Crips, Black Disciples, Gangster Disciples, Hells Angels, Latin Kings, The 18th Street Gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), Mexican Mafia, Nortenos, Surenos, Vice Lords, and various white supremacist groups, have been documented on military installations both domestically and internationally.
Many enlisted gang members conceal their gang affiliation Military authorities may not recognize gang affiliation or may be inclined not to report such incidences. Enlistment of gang members could lead to the worldwide expansion of U.S.-based gangs. Accurate data reflecting gang-related incidences occurring on military installations is limited because the military isn’t required to report criminal offense statistics occurring on military bases to the FBI.
Matthew O’Deane is an investigator for the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and a former police officer, detective and sergeant of the National City (Calif.) Police Department. He holds a PhD in public policy from Walden University and is an adjunct professor for Kaplan and National Universities. Carter F. Smith is a retired U.S. Army CID Special Agent and a founding board member of the Tennessee Gang Investigators Association. He is a doctoral candidate at Northcentral University in Prescott, Ariz., and an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Middle Tennessee State University.
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