Gang Awareness
Gang Awareness

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Criminal Gangs and Gang Related Violence

GRAND JURY SUMMARY - JULY 2007

We, the members of the Eighteenth Statewide Grand Jury, find that gangs and gang violence are on the rise in Florida, as in many parts of the country. We see the increase not only in the rising number of gangs and their membership, but also in the number of violent crimes committed by gangs.

We also find that though some progress has been made, Florida's overall efforts have fallen short. This shortcoming is particularly striking in the lack of resources dedicated to law enforcement and prosecutors fighting gangs. In addition, we find that Florida's criminal laws must be revised and re-written to ensure the intent of the legislature can be carried out to "eradicate the terror created by criminal street gangs and their members."

As a result of our findings, we make several recommendations to address the most immediate issues: 1) strengthen our criminal statutes and eliminate loopholes, 2) make modest yet critical increases in funding to law enforcement investigators and prosecutors, and 3) increase communication and the sharing of information within the law enforcement community.

In addition to receiving testimony for this Interim Report, we received testimony that provided the basis for us to return a True Bill for Racketeering and Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering against eleven defendants who are members of a gang based in Palm Beach County. The testimony about their gang reinforced the testimony we had previously received about the gang problem in Florida.

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