Metro: Alarming Number of Gangs in Southern Nevada - 8 News NOW

Metro: Alarming Number of Gangs in Southern Nevada

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LAS VEGAS -- From run-down, crime-ridden neighborhoods to the fanciest casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, gangs are an ongoing problem in southern Nevada.

The numbers tell a scary story.

Metro Police report southern Nevada currently is home to 645 gangs, 16,753 gang members and more than 3,200 gang associates.

Metro Police held a detailed briefing Thursday on the latest gang activity in southern Nevada.

8 News NOW will not list off their gang names, show their graffiti, or play their vile music videos because that just gives gangs the glory they want.

However, police know the Las Vegas valley has a problem. Metro gang crimes detective Bernard Plaskett sees some disturbing things on the job.

"We have an elementary school kid that has got three dots on his hand, and unfortunately, the parent tattooed the child," Det. Plaskett said.

Metro Police are fighting back against gangs and the crimes they commit. Plaskett says gangs have a presence in every corner of the Las Vegas valley.

"We're seeing gangs going into pimping, human trafficking, drugs," he said.

Plaskett says more gangs are moving into human trafficking.

"We have a girl, since 11, she's been trafficked and pushed out there, and the only thing she can say is that it's because of the gang, 'I have to do it, detective, you're not there with me 24/7,'" Plaskett said.

More working girls are tied to gangs, and the women make tons of cash for them.

"It is getting more prominent. They're doing it for the sake of the gang. This is what some of them are telling me," Plaskett said.

"We're in transition here in southern Nevada. We have so many gangsters that if you push them out of one area, they go to another," Las Vegas City Councilman Bob Coffin said.

Coffin says Las Vegas has gotten a control on gangs downtown, but says the city cannot let its down our guard.

"The fact is they are younger, and they have associated with Southern California, where you got some of the meanest guys in the world," Coffin said.

Plaskett hopes with awareness, the community can start a conversation on this issue.

"We in the community need to become the role models," Plaskett said.

Parents are encouraged to monitor their kids' social media pages because many gangs have a large presence online.

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