The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released the 2015 Texas Gang Threat Assessment, which was developed to provide an extensive overview of gang activity in the state of Texas.
“Because of their propensity for violence and close associations with ruthless Mexican cartels, gangs are a serious threat to public safety in Texas. Our residents have a right to live free from fear and crime, and DPS remains steadfast in our mission to identify, dismantle and disrupt these criminal organizations,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The 2015 Texas Gang Threat Assessment delivers valuable information about the gangs operating in our state and is a proven tool in law enforcement’s fight against these dangerous groups.”
The Texas Gang Threat Assessment was developed according to statute, which requires an annual report to be submitted to the governor and Texas Legislature assessing the threat posed by statewide criminal gangs. The report is based on the collaboration between multiple law enforcement and criminal justice agencies across the state and nation, whose contributions were essential in creating this comprehensive overview of gang activity in Texas.
This assessment details the state’s systematic approach to evaluating and classifying gangs in order to identify which organizations represent the most substantial threat. The report estimates that current gang membership across the state may exceed 100,000 individuals.
Additional significant findings include:
· Gangs continue to represent a significant public safety threat to Texas due to their propensity for violence and heightened level of criminal activity. Of the incarcerated gang members within Texas Department of Criminal Justice prisons, more than 60 percent are serving a sentence for violent crimes, including robbery, homicide, and assault/terroristic threat.
· The Tier 1 gangs in Texas for 2015 are Tango Blast and Tango cliques (estimated 15,000 members), Texas Syndicate (3,400 members), Texas Mexican Mafia (4,700 members), Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) (800 members), and Latin Kings (2,100 members). These groups pose the greatest gang threat to Texas due to their relationships with Mexican cartels, high levels of transnational criminal activity, level of violence, and overall statewide presence.
· Gangs in Texas remain active in both human smuggling and human trafficking operations. Gang members associated with human smuggling have direct relationships with alien smuggling organizations and Mexican cartels. These organizations were involved in and profited from the recent influx of illegal aliens crossing the border in the Rio Grande Valley in 2014. Gang members involved in human trafficking, including commercial sex trafficking and compelling prostitution of adults and minors, exploit their victims through force, fraud or coercion, including recruiting and grooming them with false promises of affection, employment, or a better life.