LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Last fall we saw a rash of gang-related activity across the valley. So, has the situation improved, one year later?
While gang membership has not changed, the types of crimes being committed have.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson says there are still 600 gangs in Las Vegas, with about 12,000 gang members total. Some good news: gang violence is down from last year, thanks in part to a check-in program for gang members on probation.
Still, gang-related events have gone up.
“Well, we still have a serious problem,” Wolfson said. “They’re getting a little bit more creative. They’re getting into fraudulent activities, identity theft, sex trafficking, human trafficking.”
There are also more racketeering offenses.
“We don’t do prosecutions of 20 people in one indictment, but that’s what we’re having to do now,” Wolfson said.
Improvements are also being made in gang-impacted neighborhoods, and it’s all thanks to the efforts of community centers all-across Las Vegas.
“There’s a couple rival gangs, within a rock-throwing distance,” said Alex Bernal — Program Supervisor for Parkdale Public Recreation. “We’ve helped the community as well as those kids to kind of calm down and realize the importance of getting involved in programs, positive programming.”
That includes back to school events, basketball games and even water gun fights, but the work is on-going.
“We need to keep doing what we’re doing now and step it up just a notch,” Wolfson said.