There has been an increase in gang related Crimes in Ft Lauderdale and Broward County. If your child has been arrested due to a gang related crime you will need an experienced Juvenile defense lawyer. Psychologists feel that Children join gangs for a sense of belonging and the nurturing they may not be getting at home. That first gang arrest can lead to a long trail of criminal acts. Remember your child needs to remain accepted by the gang. You will Need an experienced Juvenile lawyer . Guy Seligman is here to help.
Cracking down on gangs: As criminal groups grow across the county, police are making more arrests and teaching residents how to protect themselves
"The public should be aware that there is a problem," said Carl Shechter, vice mayor of Pembroke Pines, home to 22 known gangs.
Countywide, law enforcement agencies hope to curb gang violence by teaching residents how to protect themselves, meeting with teachers to stem gangs at schools and monitoring social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook, which are popular recruiting tools
On Thursday, South Florida became the latest region in the state to launch a Gang Reduction Task Force. The task force, under the Attorney General's Office, is made up of government officials, law enforcement, nonprofit group leaders, school administrators and the business community. The task force is aimed at preventing gangs from growing and stopping the ones already here.
Criminal gangs have swelled in Florida to more than 1,500 with over 65,000 members, statistics show.
In 2008, the Broward Sheriff's Office made 385 gang-related arrests, compared with 373 in 2007 and 153 in 2006. The figures do not include gang-related arrests in Pembroke Pines or other cities with their own police departments.
While police say some suspects arrested claim to be associated with a gang, others are merely boasting. In Hollywood, for example, police are investigating whether last month's brawl that led to 25 arrests at South Broward High School involved gang members or rival neighborhood groups.
In Pompano Beach and Deerfield Beach, six people have been killed since 2004 in a rivalry between Haitian and American black gangs, said Sgt. Dan Fitzpatrick, who leads the Broward Sheriff's Gang Task Force.
While those gangs battle over turf divided by Southwest 10th Street, other gangs attack at random in several cities. In the fall, a group of gunmen dubbed the "Dunkin' Donuts robbers" went on a two-county crime spree that left two people dead and five others wounded. The suspects told investigators they were gang members, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.
Police say that to protect the public, they are conducting countywide sweeps and arresting suspected gang members involved in even minor crimes. Such arrests, police say, allow them to gather information about other gang members, which deters more serious crime
"Are we seeing more kids naming themselves as gang members? Yes," said Coral Springs Police Sgt. Brad Mock, who leads the city's seven-member Tactical and Gang Unit. Coral Springs this year started sending officers to speak with teachers about gangs in schools, helping them to recognize gang members and report any criminal activity to the authorities.
"Teachers play a big role in keeping our schools safer," Mock said.
Why gang activity is on the rise is unclear.
"That's the $24,000 question," Pembroke Pines Police Chief Dan Giustino said. "You might say an increase in robberies and burglaries has something to do with economic times, but I honestly can't say that's playing into this gang-related activity."
Marguerite Bryan, associate criminology professor at Nova Southeastern University, cites "job losses, the lack of opportunities and access to firearms" as possible factors.
What is clear is that gangs are gaining a greater foothold.
"We've seen more organized gangs come together more recently," Fitzpatrick said. "The pure violence now involved is so much greater. Now when there is a problem between two gangs, rather than starting off with fists, they start off with shooting."
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