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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 201509 Find in a Library
Title: Gang- and Drug-Related Homicide: Baltimore's Successful Enforcement Strategy
Series: BJA Bulletins
Author(s): Edward Burns
Corporate Author: Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
United States of America
Date Published: July 28, 2003
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Bureau of Justice Assistance
Washington, DC 20531
Bureau of Justice Assistance Clearinghouse
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
Washington, DC 20036
Grant Number: 86-IJ-CX-0079
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America

Bureau of Justice Assistance Clearinghouse
P.O. Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document discusses an investigative approach to combating violent inner-city gangs in Baltimore, MD.
Abstract: In Baltimore, gangs and their members are not easily detected. In the past, law enforcement has treated gangs like drug organizations, applying standard investigative techniques that apply to drug crimes. But the evolution of gangs – coupled with a dramatic increase in the trafficking of hard drugs – has rendered traditional investigative approaches ineffective. A gang differs from a drug distribution organization in structure, objective, and methods, specifically in its use of violence. In specific inner-city territories, Baltimore gangs control drug distribution from street-level consumption to bulk wholesale. A gang leader seeks to dominate territory and expand the gang’s geographic control. After the base of operation is secured, a gang focuses on optimizing the territory for the sale of street-grade heroin and cocaine. The gang leader maintains dominance over the membership by a mixture of rewards and violence, with an emphasis on the latter. Gangs use the art of name recognition to maintain control. The King/Risks/Meredith (King) gang’s potential danger and threat were investigated by the Baltimore City Police Department’s Drug Enforcement Unit. The King probe was one of the last investigations conducted against Baltimore gangs by conventional methods. Gang members are relentless in their efforts to thwart investigations. One approach to combating gangs is to prosecute members for firearm and assault offenses. This strategy enables prosecutors to confront shooters and other members that have knowledge of homicides that carry potentially long sentences; and to trade years off a member’s sentence in exchange for cooperation in cases against gang leaders. Another approach is based on the idea that the gang is an instrument of the leader’s will. An investigative goal is to develop conspiracy cases from evidence obtained by turning the gang’s violence inward upon vulnerable gang members. Police use controlled arrests, interviews of randomly arrested gang members, and grand juries as investigative tools to place gang members in this vulnerable position. A police gang unit must be small and self-contained, operate in close conjunction with the homicide unit, partner with a prosecution team, and have a liaison with designated district units. 7 notes
Main Term(s): Gangs; Investigative techniques
Index Term(s): Drug Related Crime; Gang involvement in organized crime; Gang member attitudes; Gang violence; Violence prevention; Violent crimes
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