Gang Activity on the Rise

Two juveniles and one adult are under arrest after what police say may have been gang-related shootings. The case is among a rising number of gang-related activities in Leon County in recent weeks.

Gunshot holes in a Gibbs Street home are all that remain after that Sunday night shooting. The owner says she feels lucky to be alive.

While adult gangs are a problem, detectives say youth gangs are becoming a big concern with the increased activity.

CAPT David Hendry of the Tallahassee Police Department says, “We've seen an increase in youth gang activity, between the factioning sides of town, west-side, north-side and so forth, and we've seen an increase in physical fights and threats of violence."

Investigators say most of the gang activity in Leon County is linked to non-traditional gangs, which are groups of people who grew up together or go to school together. They start dressing alike, talking alike and the problems start when they start committing crimes a group, and detectives say they start young.

DET Grady Jordan of the Leon County Sheriff's Office says, "We've documented a lot of people that are involved in activity that we know is going to be gang related, and the threat is growing every day."

To curb the growing trend of gang violence, gang detectives are focusing on the schools. They're hoping to get to the kids before the gangs have the chance to influence them, but it also starts in the home.

Detectives say most parents weren't even aware their kids were involved. There are a few signs they say you can look out for. Your child may be wearing the same colors and numbers as the group of friends they hang out with. Graffiti or tattoos are other signs.

Detectives advise that if you think your child may be involved in a gang to contact the school or law enforcement for help.

Part of the battle against gangs also includes intelligence. The Leon County Sheriff's Office says school resource officers are trained to know what to look for and how to talk to the kids.

Corrections officers are also keeping tabs on what's going on behind bars. The Tallahassee Police Department formed its gang unit about a year ago in response to increased activity. Since then, detectives say they have identified more than 100 gang members under Florida statute and have made more than 75 arrests.