posted on November 06, 2009 15:38
Crips, Flatland, Suernos, Eastside, Yakuza, Rebels, Northside; all are gangs in the Omaha area. According to the Omaha Police Department’s gang website, Omaha has hundreds of youths who are vulnerable to joining gangs just like these. Only a small percent are actually considered “hard- core” gang members. Those that are considered “hard- core” may have already served time in jail or prison.
Omaha gangs can be all over the place throughout the city. Gangs can range from a neighborhood block to the East or West coast.
Gangs are often small and led by local kids in neighborhoods. There isn’t usually a fixed person in charge, but the oldest or strongest kid is most likely to be the leader. Some of these neighborhood gangs join with others to become bigger and stronger. This forces other neighborhood gangs to join them or fight them.
Occasionally, gangs can be separated by race. People that are interested in gangs tend to flock to members that share a similar background such as a home country where they speak the same language and/or share their same culture. However, this isn’t always the case.
When joining a gang, certain things must be done such as an initiation. Every gang is different in what it requires. Sometimes a person might get “jumped- in” which is when the person wanting to become a new member must endure getting beaten up by several gang members. Other times a person has to steal so many items or stab a person.
There are several factors to why someone would join a gang. A lot of the time it’s because that person doesn’t have a good family connection in their home life. Also, peer pressure from friends and only knowing the gang life contribute to why someone would join a gang. Gangs can offer feelings of acceptance and protection.
Most gangs operate in a similar way. The gangs have a name and associate with a color and/or symbol. A lot of gangs are also identified with their illegal activities. More often than not, gangs go hand in hand with the possessing, distribution and selling of drugs. Gangs can also be related to homicides.
Officer Bonam at North High knows all too well about gangs. He spends a couple hours a week on gangs. He said with North being located in gang activity’s central location, gangs slightly affect North.
“In past years, hangs were a major problem here [at North]. Now, it’s not really as big of a problem.”
Bonam still has to deal with gang related incidents though, like gang retaliation in fights. He mentioned that what happens in the streets is brought back to school.
“[The kids] bring back this negative aspect into the school.”