Wichita Falls Gang Unit helped decrease gang activity

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Texas Department of Public Safety's "Gang Assessment Report" ranked Wichita County as one of the areas where gangs are pretty active just below major cities.

The Wichita Falls Police Department said gang activity was not as bad as it was 10 years ago.

"I've seen a decrease in gang activity, period," Sergeant Harold McClure said.

He said that decrease came after Wichita Falls PD and the Wichita County District Attorney's Office created a gang task force and started a program a program that identifies suspected gang members.

The task force was created in the Fall of 2006 after a gang war escalated in the Summer of 2005. More than 50 shootings were reported that year.

"We were seeing a lot of gang activity," Sgt. McClure said. "We had to find a way to stop it."

As part of Wichita County's injunction program, suspected gang members are targeted, based on three identifying factors.

Investigators would not reveal what those factors are but once a suspect is identified, they can be banned from using cell phones while in a vehicle and communicating with other suspected or known gang members. They can also be put on a curfew.

"It limits particular gang members from certain activities that would help them from further activities," Sgt McClure said.

The gangs are involved in selling drugs, thefts, burglaries and shootings.

"I don't believe any community is exempt from criminal elements coming into their neighborhoods," Sgt. McClure said.

Last year, the Gang Unit had 71 felony arrests, 140 misdemeanor arrests and seized more than $21,000 used in criminal activity, according to the Wichita Falls PD's annual report.

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