Tri-Cities Police Report More Problems With Gangs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Tri-Cities Police Report More Problems With Gangs

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - From graffiti to violence police say that gangs bring problems.

Kennewick Police Detective Arron Clem said they are seeing gang membership going up and more reports of gang graffiti in Kennewick.

He said graffiti is an easy way for them to detect what type of gang activity is going on in the community. 

Gang members will use graffiti to display their gang name or affiliations.  In the Tri-Cities many gang members associate with "North" or "South" using the colors blue and red to signify which side they identify with. 

A number of police officers in Richland, West Richland and Pasco have stated that they have seen an increase in the gang problems locally.

In the mid-nineties there was a spike in gang activity.  Tri-Cities police cracked down on gangs and made a number of major arrests.  

Clem and other law enforcement officers have said that one of the reasons for the recent increase may be because a number of those that were arrested in the mid-nineties are now getting out of jail and continuing were they left off.

Gang related crimes could lead to violence, graffiti problems, car thefts and assaults.

Clem said," Potentially these things could led to more crimes, more assaults, and more potential homicides and things like that."

Police also report that local gangs are networking with gang members from Seattle and parts of Oregon.

Another problem police are running into is generations of gangs.  There are homes were parents dressing their kids up in gang colors.

Experts and police both said the best thing a parent can do is to stay involved with their teen.