Gang Activity Ranked Highest In Wichita Co. - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Gang Activity Ranked Highest In Wichita Co.

A report from the Department of Public Safety ranking each county in Texas from highest to lowest amount of gang activity, ranked Wichita Co. in the highest category.

The report includes four categories from highest to lowest, shaded from light to dark blue, and Wichita Co. is the only county in Texoma in the "highest" category.

Tom Vinger with DPS in Austin said the information for the report was compiled from  a "variety of criminal justice sources." He said that includes local agencies, but could not comment on what, if any, Wichita Co. agencies that included.

However, Vinger said this rating does not reflect the work that is being done by law enforcement to curb gang activity, but simply looks at the presence of gang activity in each county. "Gang activity (in the report) is not necessarily linked to law enforcement success against it," said Vinger.

Head of the Wichita Falls Gang Task Force Sgt. Charlie Eipper said WFPD has come a long way in stopping gang activity in the city.

Wichita Falls was one of the first cities in the nation to implement gang injunction zones, which are basically lawsuits brought against specific gang members that put them under tighter regulations. "It's been a great tool. I think with the statistics from 2007-2011, a drop of criminal activity in those zones of 38%...it is testimony to itself," said Sgt. Eipper.

Vinger said the report is simply a tool for law enforcement to track gang trends. Since arrest reports and the like were used in this report, Vinger added that Wichita Co. law enforcement agencies may track and report gang members better, therefore making it appear that there is more activity.

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