I-TEAM: Gang Violence and Activity in Pasco - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

I-TEAM: Gang Violence and Activity in Pasco

Posted: Updated:
But, it may be more than bad influence in young lives, "About 32 or 33% of families are raised up without a father in the home. Washington it is 36.8%, so we are higher than the national average," says Campos. But, it may be more than bad influence in young lives, "About 32 or 33% of families are raised up without a father in the home. Washington it is 36.8%, so we are higher than the national average," says Campos.

PASCO, WA- Pasco gang violence has been the top story in countless newscasts and often times others in surrounding cities are quick to point the finger to the cause. However, NBC Right Now is taking a deeper look into the gang culture of Pasco.

The Pasco Street Crimes Unit has made 663 gang related arrests since their establishment in the department. Sergeant Jason Miller tells us gangs in the area are fueled by prostitution, "We want to make Pasco very uncomfortable for the criminal element."

It is the things flying under the radar police see most frequently, "Heroin is definitely making a comeback, heroin was really big when I started, then it kind of went away for a while. Now it is coming back really strong. Predominantly what we run into on the street is methamphetamine."

Foiling daily drug operations and prostitution listings might fly under the news headlines, but for former gang member turned anti-gang activist and mentor Jess Campos, "This is not just a culture, or I want to become. This is family. You have grandma and grandpa in it, you have aunts and uncles that have been in it." Campos recalls his past, telling us,"My parents were shocked when they found out."

But, it may be more than bad influence in young lives, "About 32 or 33% of families are raised up without a father in the home. Washington it is 36.8%, so we are higher than the national average," says Campos.

Most recently, the Quintero brothers, young themselves, allegedly killed another teen near the Cable Bridge. "Those (teens) are probably easier targets to convince into their world of thinking," explained Sergeant Miller.

Campos explained although gang culture has changed since his time, it still worries him these kids aspire to end up in prison.

"The Pasco side of the thing, is more of what you would call the southside gangs or the sureno gangs. That is what we predominantly see here in Pasco," said Sergeant Miller.

However, those on the front lines tell me, they have seen improvements in just a matter of years, "If you drive around the city, you do not see near the graffiti that we had three, four, five years ago. You do not see the groups of gang members walking around in small clusters dressed in gang attire or anything like that. It is pretty seldom you see things like that," Sergeant Miller explained.
     
On Saturday, November 21st, Campos is hosting an outreach event at Volunteer Park in Pasco starting at 10 a.m. There will be services available, contests, food and family fun in an effort to help the city come closer together.

HD DOPPLER 6i
/