Oklahoma Gang Threat Assessment: Keeping Our Kids Safe from Gangs and Violent Crime
a presentation at the Oklahoma State Superintendent’s Safe and Healthy Schools Conference

Dr Michael Wilds, project Director, US Dept of Justice Anti-Gang Initiative for the Eastern District of Oklahoma
Timonthy Hock
Oklahoma City Policy Gang Unit

Mike teaches at NSU

National Youth Gang Center: www.iir.com/nygc/
was previously Project Safe Neighborhoods: America’s Network Against Gun Violence

Lots of denial out there: “we don’t have a gang problem”
– but we do have drug trafficking, graffiti, vandalism, drive by shootings
– we have “wanna be” gang members
– may be Associates: dress like gang members, sign like gang members
A wanna be is a “gonna be”

By the time “you touch them” in middle or high school, it may already be too late

Awareness is the Key to Prevention

Gangs ARE HERE (not just in Mexican border towns)
– we are in denial in many cases

What is a gang?
– three ore more individuals
– common / recognized leadership (organziation meetings)
– pattern of crime

Oklahoma says a gang is five or more people
– condition of membership required (some type of
– Commission of one or more enumerated criminal acts (assaults, robbery, homicide, etc)
– lots of drug trafficking
– lots of drugs moving up I-35 from Mexico into Chicago, Little Rock, etc.
– Ardmore, Oklahoma is a big stopping point for drug traffickers

Common Gang Crimes
– gangs we see coming in from El Salvador, Mexico, and other fringes (China, Russia, etc) are armed and deadly
– instead of .22 or .25 caliber, they are carrying automatic weapons, hand grenades
– look at southern California, it is not unusual to find body parts…

Gang structure
– highly organized
– ranks, leaders, councils, boards
— hardcore members
— marginal members
— associates
– Prison inmates may run gangs

Here in Oklahoma we are at 98% capacity for prisons
– there are no more beds
– there needs to be more community involvement and prevention
– otherwise, we can’t pay enough taxes to house everybody

this is a vicious circle

in prisons, criminals join gangs for protection
– can be like a college for gangs

Why join a gang?
– respect
– protection
– camaraderie: belonging, attention, love
– profit
– drugs
– environment: born into a gang
– intimidation
– excitement
– see themselves as revolutionaries: oppressed or crusaders

Profile of Gang members
– awareness is still a big problem in Oklahoma
– age: all ages, typically 12 – 40
– gender: typically male
– females: associates (carry weapons/drugs, provide safe houses for contraband, prostitution, assaults, larcenies, sexed in)
– race: all races regardless of gang names
– social status: predominately low SES

most people just get out of a gang by being killed

most frequent age to be “jumped in” to a gang: 12-14
– that means beat up and beat into a gang
– females can be “sexed in”

– enticements: respect / family / identity / love

Schools are fertile areas for recruiting
– junior, middle and high school recruiting
– seeking “wanna be” gang members
– kids that are into “fight clubs” after school

Former students
Indicators of gang activity
– grafitti is not necessarily indicative of gangs, but can be gang grafatti
– first signs of gang presence: streets, notebooks, signs, etc

Gang Colors
– do not necessarily indicate a gang
– but excessive and repetitive colors might
– look for groups with common colors / logos (gang logo/colors, clothing brand, hair style, jewelry, belt buckles, attitude/stand, hand signs)

Other indicators
– tattoos (Oklahoma just approved tatoos as legal, we were one of the last states to do this)
– declining interest in school
– increasing gang insignia, symbols or colors
– unaccounted time
– lack of supervision
– changes in personality or behavior
— frequently bruised or injured
— carrying guns, knives, or other weapons

Lots of gang types, a huge list of gangs in the US
Many active gangs in Oklahoma (because chiefs of police and sheriffs filled out surveys)
– list of 25
– prison is a college now for gangs

New surveys are updating percentage populations of gangs

Crips formed in Washington High School in LA in 1966
– typical age: 16-22 years old
– jumped in” (Kangaroo walk, bullpen)
– migrated

Some sports team affiliations are being dropped now
– clothing can just be

“LA sag” can be gang sign

Can have local naming of gangs, splintering
– local group may or may not be affiliated with national groups

Bloods: also origin in LA

MS-13: gang that has been trained in part by the US military, is lethal
– probably will be moving to your neighborhood because of I-35
– #2 guy with MS-13 was in Tulsa several years ago
– they are here now, due to transportation and traffic system

not just highways: also railroads: oklahoma has one of the best rail systems in the nation

deportation is not a solution: their home country doesn’t want them either
– these can amount to free trips home

Lots of hispanic street gangs in Oklahoma
– Surenos (13s) started in Southern California

Latin Kings
– initially Puerto Rican, now inter-racial
– Chicago based
– “La Familia”
– origin in Chicago in 1940s

Book: “Alone and Under” by an ATF agent
– one of the best books to transplant you into the mind of a gang member
– one of the worst things you can do to a motorcyle gang member is to come up and touch them on the back of their jacket

A gang is similar to a wolf pack: they hunt and kill in groups

Mexican Mafia prison gang
– are becoming extremely powerful in Oklahoma
– who is doing that work in the rock quarries south of McAlester, who is doing that work out in Guymon?
– workers are wanting to come together to socialize, for protection: sometimes it can lead to gangs

Hate gangs
– Aryan Nation
– canoeing on the Illinois River? May run into Aryan Nation

Motorcyle gangs in Oklahoma
– Bandidos
– Outlaws
– Pagans
– Sons of Silence
– Hells Angels
– Mongols

Native American Gangs in Oklahoma
– most are homegrown, created in prisons
– Indian Brotherhood, Red Brotherhood, Indian Posse, others

Witchcraft and Satanism
– to a lesser degree, but it is there
– Gothics
– saw once in Stillwell, Oklahoma
– ritual going on

What can we do?
– acknowledge the problem
– identify and assess the problem
– prevention and intervention
– prosecution: is a good answer for votes, but this is probably a false answer

When do students become gangs: 3rd, 4th, 5th grade
– transition in middle school to real gang members
– senior high: are probably already identified

In Oklahoma around Muskogee, they wanted to setup a basketball team for gang members
– mindset is a little different
– were thinking instead of martial arts or boxing, that might work 3rd – 7th grade
– once you disrespect and cross the line, the violence works

Now Tim Hawk
– been on gang unit for 13 years, with OK Police Dept for 20 years
– will have an 8 hour class in December specifically for educators and teachers
– Tim will be one of the instructors in the class

A gang is like The Crips of The Bloods
– below that you have a “set”
– a local subgroup that aligns to a particular gang
– all gangs generally originated with a particular neighborhood

To be identified with a gang:

1st criteria: admission

2nd: specific clothing, paraphernalia, or other indicators only associated with a specific gang or gangs
– military style belts and belt buckle are huge indicators

3rd: individual is arrested participating in delinquent / criminal activity with a known gang member

4th: police records or observations confirm individual’s close association with a known gang members

Police dept actually make cases off of pictures like the ones being shown
– pictures are time dated and stamped
– sawed off shotguns are illegal: convicted felons can’t be associated with weapons
– off one picture shown alone made 3 cases against adults

All hispanic gangs Tim has had contact with affiliate with some number

In OKC we have 95 confirmed gangs, and 260 non-confirmed gangs

Total number, low estimate: 4310 gang members (3 months ago)
– have six street gang members out at any one time
– estimate we have 6000 – 7000 gang members in OKC
– 4023 males, 287 females
– don’t have any strictly female gangs in OKC
– hispanic gangs have really increased in numbers

Drive by shootings in OKC have skyrocketed:
93 – 256
94- 177
95- 133
96- 127
97- 138
98- 108
99- 78
2000- 65
2001- 103
2002- 124
2003- 129
2004- 192
2005- 260
For 2006 we are on pace to hit that mark and exceed it

We have LA style street gangs in OKC

107 Hoover is biggest Hoover set

Blood sets are outnumbered about 10:1

Have 3 major hispanic gangs here
РSouthside Locos: 512 members (affiliate with the number 13, is a Sore̱o gang, allegiance to the Mexican Mafia)
— white, block and grey colors
— “S” logo stands for Southside Locos
– Juaritos: GBL is synonymous (dual idenity)
— around 400 members
— predominantly north of 10th and Penn, 10th and Classen, north of I-40
— originated in Juarez, Mexico
— are an international gang
– GBCs: Grand Barrio Centrale
— homegrown OKC gang
— 505 members
— associate with the number 23, are very violent
– 107 Hoovers have about 311 members
— one of biggest LA-style street gangs
— are all over the city
— affiliate heavily with Pitts Park
— blue and orange: like retro Houston Astro stuff, Denver Broco colors

We have gang stores here in OKC

These maps show home addresses of known gang members

They all live in the same area: I-35, I-44, I-240, and …
– has 90% of our hispanic gang members

Gang unit started in ’93, speculation is that many of OG (older gang members)
– did have heavy media blitz about doing gang crime and doing 5-10 years of federal time

One story “La Moda” in Crossroads Mall
– sell doctor and nurse scrubs, and gang related clothing

Shooting out at Crossroads about 2-3 months ago, happened in front of that store

Lots of officers have been killed around the country because of ficticous calls into the police dept about shots being fired, and

West Side Rolling 60s
– predominantly on north and west side
– like Rose State College colors
– 298 members
– like Seattle Mariner stuff

Neighborhood 90’s
– 303 members
– neighborhood Crip gang
– love North Carolina stuff (N = Neighborhood Crip_
– powder blue

If you see a number tatooed on back of a student’s tricep, look on their other arm
– we don’t have any single digit affiliating gangs in OKC: all are double digit

All confirmed gang members
– 4310 Members
– 4596 locations


Have never compared the numbers with those who are in school

Do have the GREAT program at K-6 level
– DARE at grade 5
– gang resistance education and training (GREAT)
– have 1 officer teaching that: Germane Johnson is teaching that

Resources for kids that want to get out of a gang: ETI is an organization
– the organization provides assistance to people wanting to get out of gangs
– my focus is helping get these people off the streets, the law enforcements side

– if you’re not raised right, you’re not going to grow up right
– many are from broken homes, but we do have many kids from broken homes growing up without these problems
– tatooes are showing up more and more

perpetual myth: high tops thrown over power line means someone has been jumped into a gang
– may have local meaning
– whoever throws something up there is the only one that can say what that means

Not one documented case of someone flashing lights at someone without headlines on, and getting killed

Another rumor about black females at WalMart being targeted: also false
– Internet is a great tool for perpetuating false myths

Lots of pressure is from peers for survival
– are a million reasons why kids join gangs (family/sense of belonging, money, etc)

I have arrested white kids from affluent Edmond families doing drive-by shootings

Culture of gangs in Oklahoma is totally different from Chicago, New York, California

What do we do?
– OKC police officer: “I don’t know.”
– Federal : kids wanting attention, belonging– who knows what trigger those things
— look at academy programs in the summer that might bring kids off the streets
— hope those programs grab a few people
— look at the C or D student that doesn’t have the social skills of other students: if you put another minute of time into that students’ life,

We have many angry males who don’t have positive, strong male influences in their lives

Tim is a big advocate for school uniforms: takes away student abilities to identify themselves
– make them tuck in their shirts
– can decrease the tension in the school,

Should be a no-tolerance in schools
– should be a safe place for kids
– can’t have rival gangs running the schools
– dress code

Mike has seen a student carrying 39 weapons at one time

Have 12 officers in the OKC gang unit facing abotu 6000
– most gang members are cowards and are not going to stand up one to one, sometimes you do have ones that will
– many come out of the pen all buffed up
– have seen videos of prison inmates learning to take down police offers can kill them when they are being patted down

Very rarely will you hear the media reporting “gang related violence”
– there is a BIG gang related problem in OKC and there has been for years
– the media has pressure to not put out the perception that “we have a gang problem”

We have reached 3rd generation gang members in OKC
– it is often a family issue

Numbers in OKC have been constant around 6000 since ’93: some get locked up, others join.

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6 Responses to Oklahoma Gang Threat Assessment

  1. monica deleon says:

    i think that gangmembers are going to get worse if the gang unit police keep asoulting them if they walc the streets or how they dress . for me i claim the gang as u guys are femilar with in okc 405 “SOUTH SIDE LOCOS 13” they call me La munecka i seen alot of gangbangers and like every body says they do because some people just want respect or dont care what happends in life or was born into a gang but like i said if the police leaves the gangmembers alone they might calm down with the violince thats what i think laters la munecka de SOUTH SIDE LOCOS 13

  2. kryshton walker says:

    if the 50 would stop harrassing the gangs then they wouldnt b killin so many po pos or innocent bystanders. i was offered into a gang and when da 50 wasnt on our backs we didn’t do anything that bad. but when the 50 started to harass us more and more thats when sh*t went down and ppl got hurt. now i’m all good and not in a gang but know ppl who r and they r alrite as long as 50 isnt on their ace about it. so all the po pos and all just need 2 ly back and relax 4 a while and let it go on 4 a lil bit then whe it gets worse or 2 a point then they should do sumthang. s13

  3. me says:

    You wear your ignorence and lack of education on your sleeve. No one is going to stand idly by while uneducated degenerates pump the streets full of drugs, violence and crime. Get an education or learn a trade and earn an honest living, then the police won’t be after you and you can live a peaceful life.

  4. Juaritos Sureno Kilometro 14 says:

    Puro GBLocos stra8 of sur juarez kilometer 14 thats y were surenos and we claim 14 west side okc SE WS SW

  5. 1Bandit_LoCkO3 says:

    man real talck im from south side locos an i only whent to the gang cause i had no famley but it happns an we are not bad like u say we just dont get along with people who talck shit an ya people get shot every day an not all of them r gang related so ya be for u try an make us look bad lets start with them cop gangs to thay go aroung beatin the shit out of us on the streets an known we cant do shit  cause if we do we will be the ones getin lock up an not them so handl your own people be for u come at us i been in this gang shit since i was a lil ass kid an i seen shit go down but i fuckin hate the law an always will cause yall dont do shit right fuck what yall talckin about im goin to gang bang tell i die of old age or in prison for shit i did for havein my homies back an ya my homies had my back every time i got lock up so dont pull no bull shit around on us an we dont got gang stores we got clouthing stores when we like to go an buy shit so stop tryin to make busnes go bad for them people tryin to make mony an a liven

  6. Bandit_LOCkO says:

    i got a trade im goin to school an im a felon an i bet i make more mony ull ever see an i dont sale drugs on any thang im stell in my hood tell i die i bang it all the way an it was my choice so fuck the laws cuz thay wont leve us alone

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