The Texas Department of Public Safety recently released its Texas Gang Threat Assessment which is a collaboration with federal, state/local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies throughout Texas and the U.S.
Per DPS findings, there are more than 100,000 gang members in Texas. Gangs mentioned include Tango Blast and associated cliques with approximately 19,000 members. The Latin Kings are estimated to have 1,300 members, while the Texas Mexican Mafia has an estimated 4,100 members, and Mara Salvatrucha, aka MS-13, has approximately 500 members.
The report categorizes these gangs as Tier 1 gangs, thus, “they pose the greatest gang threat potential based on their cartel relationships, high levels of transnational criminal activity, level of committed violence, and overall statewide strength and presence.”
The issue for the Bandidos MC is that they are listed as a Tier 2 gang along with the Bloods, Crips, Partido Revolucionario Mexicano, Barrio Azteca, Sureños, Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, and Texas Chicano Brotherhood.
With trials possibly starting in September for the Waco Twin Peaks Shooting, this is sure to become a hot topic issue on both sides of the table. The prosecution will use the report to their advantage, claiming that the Bandidos Motorcycle Club’s history precedes them, justifying the law enforcement presence at Twin Peaks Waco. The defense will argue law enforcement was predisposed to react because of reports like this one and thus, they had itchy trigger fingers.
The report continues by explaining that the Bandidos MC was “formed in the 1960s, the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang (BOMG) conducts its illegal activities
as covertly as possible and generally tries to avoid high profile activities. However, members are not covert about making their presence known, frequently wearing
their gang colors, insignia, and riding in large groups. They seek to turn public sentiment in their favor by organizing frequent charity runs.”
Well, logically speaking, I’ve never seen criminals trying to be overt. I think the whole point is to be covert. The boogie man approach I’ve mentioned before. They are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Read my blog on the biker gangs in south Florida and language used to create the boogie man approach.
On Page 12 of the report, the following definition is provided.
Texas Penal Code §71.01 defines a criminal gang as three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities.
And that’s what always gets me. To arbitrarily assign the number three, results in what I have blogged about an endless amount of times. If I have 100 members in my chapter, and three of them decide to be bad apples, is my whole chapter a “criminal gang?” Better yet, a criminal enterprise? Of course not! Not anymore than when three doctors out of a hundred decide to rip off medicaid or three lawyers decide to steal from clients. Read the articles on the Twin Peaks Shooting for more of that.
What’s even more mind boggling to me when a 2013 report by the (NGIC) National Gang Intelligence Center reports that out of U.S. gangs, motorcycle clubs make up 2.5% of the gang population, with street gangs at 88%. Prison Gangs are 9.5%! By logical conclusion, isn’t the 88% and the 9.5% more important then?
I’ve never denied that clubs have members who commit crimes. That’s obvious when they get arrested and convicted. Lately, there has even been the arrests of members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club in Florida. But I do venture to say there are more single individuals committing crimes than gangs in general. That’s logical because there are more single individuals than gangs. Again, it’s a number game and you have to focus on the bigger numbers.
And once again, I make the argument that it’s not that hard to find club members. Realistically, they couldn’t be easier to find. We even know where they hangout (clubhouse). Imagine criminals displaying a big banner at their house to identify their location and all wearing the same uniform. Absurd, isn’t?
What to know what’s worse? I couldn’t find statistics on the percentage of club members that are convicted felons because that would prove me wrong.
Now, I was making these statements without the desire to continue looking for studies and pouring over statistics from the FBI, Department of Justice, etc. because I need to get back to work. I was just using common sense. I was also hoping someone already did the work for me. Guess what? Someone did.
The Motorcycle Profiling Project not only makes clear there are no statistics on convicted felons belonging to motorcycle clubs (answering my own question), but using the statistics NGIC, there are approximately 44,000 members in outlaw motorcycle gangs. That’s a lot! Well, sort of.
The Motorcycle Profiling Project argues that if you get the total amount of convicted felons from from 1948 – 2014, adjusting for growth rates, you have 24 million convicted felons (per Princeton University Study). We don’t know how many during that time frame belong to omg’s, but by dividing the 44,000 into 24 million, you have .18%. Doesn’t seem like a lot now, does it? I did reference above that motorcycle clubs are only 2.5% of the total gang problem.
Taking this to the next level, the Motorcycle Profiling Project argues statistically that law enforcement officers have committed more felonies than members of motorcycle clubs. Take a deep breath and let that sink in. And so you know, they did not just make up that fact. That was based on a study by Bowling Green University. Follow this link.