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Conference Offers Latest Techniques For Battling Gangs

Police learn the latest techniques for fighting gangs in Oklahoma. The state's gangs investigators conference is in Tulsa and one of the instructors is a former gang officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports he has some advice for battling Tulsa's gangs.

Gang investigations are more than just studying graffiti and knowing colors and symbols. Now, more and more, police are finding out valuable information about gang activity by checking out gang members' MySpace pages online.

Tulsa's gang squad has seen photos of local crimes on the Internet as well as counter surveillance of police.

How to investigate gangs may be changing, but the problem of gangs is the same as it's been for dozens of years. Experts say gangs enter most cities because city leaders are in denial. They don't want to acknowledge the problem has arrived.

They say that happened in Tulsa, Omaha and Denver. They say communities must do prevention programs along with suppression, which means enough police to identify and arrest gang members after crimes.

One expert says vigilance is a city's best defense.

"Gangs are cancers in the community. They will kill a community as quick as their bullets kill people, but a community that is vigilant doesn't have to put up with that,” said L.A. Country gangs expert Wes McBride. “They don't have to end up a devastated barrio, ghetto, an unreclaimable community."

McBride says Tulsa gangs named themselves after L.A. gangs, but they are different in that Tulsa gangs don't fight over turf or territory as much as in L.A.

He says the basics are the same. Gangs hurt people and kill people, and they will never go away.

McBride says he's impressed that Tulsa's gang squad has such a good handle on the different gangs sects here, the leaders and the crimes of each group.

In L.A., the big feud was between Bloods and Crips. In Tulsa, many of the murders have been between different sects within the Crips.

The conference trains gang investigators all over the state.

Watch the video: Police Learn The Newest Methods For Fighting Gangs
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