by Detective Edward Burns (retired)
bulletin examines the phenomenon of violent inner-city gangs and
introduces an investigative approach to combating these gangs in
Baltimore, Maryland. Gangs have a devastating effect: they instill
fear among citizens and create an atmosphere of violence so pervasive
that the nation's youth now view serious, often fatal assaults as
normal responses to perceived or actual slights.
In many cities, gangs are easily identified by flaunted colors and
are maintained by a continuity of the organization. In Baltimore,
however, gangs and their members are not easily detected. Traditionally,
local law enforcement has treated gangs like drug organizations,
applying standard investigative techniques that apply to drug crimes.
This report shows that the evolution of gangs?coupled with a dramatic
increase in the trafficking of hard drugs (i.e., cocaine)?has rendered
traditional investigative approaches ineffective.