The Las Cruces Police Department Gang Unit is dedicated to eliminating gang related violence.
Our strategies to combat gang violence include prevention, intervention, and apprehension. We are committed to working with our community partners to create opportunities for young people such as our Youth Leadership Academy.
The Gang Unit was started in 2005 and is supervised by a sergeant and includes four officers. The Gang Unit assists LCPD officers and various federal, state and local agencies. Our officers serve as educators and mentors in our efforts to make our neighborhoods safer while improving the quality of life for our entire community.
What is a gang?
Gangs can be described as "three or more persons having a common identifying sign or symbol, or an identifiable leadership who continuously or regularly associate in the commission of criminal activities." In more general terminology, a gang can be described as a group of individuals who may claim control over certain territories and engage in illegal behaviors. As history has shown, participants are often volatile, committing acts of violence toward rival gang members or the general public for even minor infractions of their code.
Police officers and the public must understand that gang activity is not limited to any specific race, economic status, or political ideology. There are gangs exclusive to Black members, Hispanics, Asians and Whites. There are also a number of gangs which cross racial boundaries.
Consequences of Gang Affiliation
Youth and street gangs often pay a high price for membership. Initiation rights often involve committing serious criminal and sometimes violent acts to prove loyalty. Membership often guarantees a criminal history that can impede a person's ability or likelihood to succeed in life. Gang members place their loved ones in jeopardy. Drive-by shootings into residences have resulted in the serious injury or death of individuals who are not gang affiliated.
Gang membership takes a terrible toll on the lives of all who are in contact with the member. Family members often have to concern themselves with their safety because of a son's, daughter's or sibling's affiliation with a violent gang. A lasting impact is that inducted gang members often retreat from the positive influences in their community including friends, family, schools, and community organizations. They find their only friends are active gang members who become part of their extended family.
Steps That Parents, Community Members and Educators Can Take
- Talk to your son or daughter and discuss the consequences of becoming involved in a gang or hate group.
- Involve your children in family and outside activities.
- Take an active role in your child's education and progress.
- Become acquainted with the resources available to you and educational programs provided to the community by the Gang Unit.
- Work within your community in identifying and intervening in gang and hate group activities before they become a problem.
- Respond quickly in removing graffiti in your neighborhood. A prompt response signals gang members that we have pride in our neighborhoods, and that we will not relinquish our communities and quality of life.
- Report suspected gang activity immediately. In an emergency, dial 9-1-1.
LCPD’s Gang Unit can be contacted via e-mail or by phone at (575) 525-4735.