Lubbock sees increase in teen gang activity, shootings

Lubbock sees increase in teen gang activity, shootings

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Over the past month, there has been a number of violent assaults in Lubbock involving teenagers. LPD reports none of these are random acts of violence. 

The Texas Anti-Gang Center reports over the past three months, Lubbock has seen an increase in gang activity and shootings by males age 15-21. 

"They're drug related and they're gang related, those two things are going to fuel them to get bigger and bigger, but also access to guns that the kids have had is problematic," Lubbock Police Chief Greg Stevens said.

Stevens said just in the last few years, there has been more than a thousand guns stolen out of vehicles in Lubbock. The car's often are left unlocked.

When it comes to these assaults, Stevens said TAG is already making a difference. 

"We're more efficient, we've gotten on top of it faster and quicker," Stevens said. "We've made the arrests, we've made a number of arrests in these shootings, we've been able to do that and bring resolution a lot quicker because of the consolidated effort." 

Social media plays a big role in these investigations.

"It's part of their everyday investigative tools and many of these arrests that we've made in these shootings have stemmed from online investigations," Stevens said.

There are a lot of indicators to look out for if your kid is involved with a gang. 

"Looking at who they are hanging around," Stevens said. "If the kids are all wearing the same colors, gang signs, things like that, they come home injured unexplained."

Stevens said it is important parents step up. 

"It's gotta start really early and you need to be having that strong parental role model early in life so that the kids are use to you being in charge," Stevens said.

There are free options for parents who are concerned about their teen. At Lubbock Catholic Charities, case workers offer counseling to at-risk youth and their parents.

"It's just important for parents to understand that a lot of those behaviors, you know it's a learned behavior," Youth and Family director Rachel Faz said. "They see a lot of this aggression and a lot of this violence and it's coming from home, it's coming from other stressors." 

Faz said the focus has shifted from teenagers to kids. She says by reaching them at a young age, it could deter them from getting caught up in the wrong crowd. 

"We've actually seen an increase for early childhood because kids are displaying pretty aggressive behaviors," Faz said.

While Chief Stevens can not promise the gang problem will disappear, he is confident the crimes will be less frequent.

"Unfortunately with the rate it's going, it will take a little time," Stevens said. "But I do anticipate that we'll certainly have it quelled pretty quickly." 

The TAG website lists 20 gangs in this area with information on each one and how to spot if your kid may be a member. 

To report any gang related activity, you can call Lubbock TAG at (806)-775-7299 or CRIMELINE at (806)-741-1000.

Lubbock TAG accepts tips from the follow counties - Lubbock, Bailey, Cochran, Crosby, Dickens, Floyd, Garza, Hale, Hockley, Kent, Lamb, Lynn, Motley, Terry, Yoakum. 

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