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Gang Graffiti Downtown
On Wednesday, Gainesville Police Department detective Jim McCollum discovered evidence of a national gang- the Crips, in downtown Gainesville.
The graffiti symbol was found on a wall just blocks from the downtown club scene.
In a report to city leaders, GPD's downtown unit described a "troubling gang element."
"Gang activity has increased tremendously in the last two years," said McCollum, who along with detective Richard LaLonde make-up the joint gang investigation unit between GPD and the Alachua County Sheriff's Office.
"We have Bloods, we have Crips...we've had a few Latin Kings come through, KKK, skin heads..." added McCollum.
According to McCollum, there are 225 documented gang members in Alachua County.
Florida state law requires that a person meet two of 11 criteria- that includes dress, tattoos, and hand signs- to be considered a "criminal gang member."
The average age of the gang member's McCollum and LaLonde investigate- 13 to 23-years-old.
"There are some that are older, some guys never get out of it- you might see some in their late 20's, but they start recruiting about middle school," said McCollum.
Though gang activity in Gainesville and Alachua County combined doesn't come close to south Florida's, McCollum says it's still a problem.
"Just believe it's real, and its been here for the last few years. It's growing, its everywhere. Gangs don't have boundaries. We've arrested violent gang members from West Palm Beach that were here," said McCollum.
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