The following information has been furnished by the Gang Unit to help parents and citizens to be aware of the characteristics of gang members.
What is a gang?
A gang is defined as: “Three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continually or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities” (Texas Penal Code, 71.01).
Normally a "gang" will have a common name, signs, symbols, and colors and will be involved in some type of criminal behavior.
Gang Activity in Fort Worth
Since the inception of the Fort Worth Police Department Gang Section in 1983, our Intelligence Unit has identified over 260 gangs and 12,500 gang members. There are currently 197 gangs and 5,300 gang members in our database. Included in these numbers, are Hispanic street gangs, black gangs, motorcycle gangs, white-supremacist gangs, prison gangs, and Asian gangs.
It is considered that 15-25% of gang members are "hard core" members (those actually involved in criminal activity), with the remaining percentage being, associates, fringe members, and "at-risk" members.
Gang members are involved in many types of criminal activities including homicide, robbery, assault, burglary, auto theft, and sexual assault as well as every other type of reported crime.
Most Fort Worth gangs take their name from the neighborhood in which they live. They mark their areas with graffiti, but will also mark the area of the school they attend or throughout the city as they travel about. Many gang members place their gang's initials on articles of clothing or on their bodies as tattoos. Most have "street” names and sign their graffiti with these (called monikers).
The cost of gang activity to City of Fort Worth is very high. The quality of life in the neighborhoods where gangs are active is greatly affected. In dollars, gang activity costs greatly through property crimes committed, vandalism, and graffiti as well as the cost to the taxpayer for agencies tasked with addressing this problem. In human suffering, the costs are astronomical. Several innocent people have been victims of drive-by shootings and other types of gang violence. It is usually the families of these victims and society that carry the scars.