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Gang- and Drug-Related Homicide: Baltimore's Successful Enforcement Strategy banner graphic
by Detective Edward Burns (retired)

Police crime scene tape across the locked entrance of a chain link fence.This 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.

July 2003


This document was prepared as a technical submission under a project administered by the Police Executive Research Forum, "Research on Strategies to Incapacitate Narcotics Wholesalers," grant number 86?IJ?CX?0079 awarded by the National Institute of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the National Institute of Justice, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the U.S. Department of Justice.

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