Gangs 101

Rachel Byrd, Victorville (California) Daily Press, February 27, 2008

Of the 16,193 gang members residing in San Bernardino County, more than 2,100 are in the High Desert. Many start out as students in our local schools. And gang recruiters are working at decreasing those numbers.

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Scarano [Nathan Scarano, a probation officer for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department] shared statistics such as these with about 200 educators, law enforcers and community members attended the first meeting of the High Desert Gangs and Drugs Task Force Wednesday at a lesson on gang identification.

He shared pictures of some identifying marks that he has come across while working as a member of the SMASH Gang Enforcement Team in the High Desert, including tattoos and graffiti.

Some popular local gang symbols include “760” and “IE,” and gangs display these symbols on their skin, clothing and tagging around town he said.

The purpose of the task force is to spread information that can lead to early intervention, said Tom Loomis, the director of curriculum for Hesperia Unified School District, and a member of the task force steering committee.

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Scarano also discussed the large number of hybrid gangs in the High Desert, and how many gang members are “bred” in our local schools.

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Sidebar: Did You Know: Gangs

There are 16,193 gang members residing in San Bernardino County, and 2,107 in the High Desert alone.

There are about 750,000 known gang members in California.

There are 719 gangs in the county, and 66 in the High Desert.

Between 70 and 80 percent of all crime is associated with gangs.

In the High Desert, about 58 percent of gang members are Hispanic, 25 percent are black and 13 percent are white.

SOURCE: San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

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