State officials say that street gangs continue to pose a big threat to the state. And locally, gangs are a bigger problem than you realize.
The television show 'Gangland' profiled the Houston gang problem a few years ago. In a report released this week, the Texas Department of Public Safety says gangs commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the city, and Houston gang expert Maryanne Denner agrees.
“It’s a big problem, but it’s a quiet big problem because we don’t have a lot of the overt gang violence that you see in Detroit or in Chicago,” Denner said.
Mike Knox helped create the Houston Police Department Westside Command Divisional Gang Unit in 1988, and says the city of Houston has more than its share of gang problems.
“Like all major cities we have a significant gang problem here in Houston and in Harris County,” Knox said.
Knox told KTRH the city's biggest gang is a group called Tango Blast.
“Tango Blast is unique. It’s the first gang that will allow you to be a member of another gang and be a member of their gang as well,” Knox explained.
Denner says police do everything they can, but she also says there is no way to totally get rid of them.
“You’ll never completely get rid of them. There is always another group that is ready to step in. You’ll never annihilate them,” Denner stated.
The D-PS report now says gangs are branching out from the usual drug crimes. The report indicates they are now getting more involved in prostitution as well.