Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Gangs are migrating into rural West Tennessee

Urban gangs are migrating into West Tennessee's rural areas, creating a problem for local law enforcement, Brian Haas of The Tennessean reports. "Sometimes on the weekends, thousands [go] into those towns, partying, violence, drugs, the things that follow that type of clientele," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn said after a budget hearing with Gov. Bill Haslam.

Gang crime has tripled in the state's rural area since 2005, "far outpacing urban centers more commonly associated with gang problems," Haas reports. Larger cities, like Nashville, have had success in reducing gang violence, but rural communities "suddenly find themselves facing gang murders, robberies and drug distribution," writes Haas.

Gywn told Haas gangs migrate to rural areas to escape crackdowns in cities, and because rural police forces don't always have the resources to fight gang violence. Gwyn has partnered with local law enforcement and District Attorney General James Woodall of southwest Tennessee to create a gang task force to address the issue in rural areas. (Read more)

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