gang unit officers, the Oklahoma Gang Investigators Association, are encouraging other law enforcement agencies and members of the community to “like” their Facebook page.
They are using social networking to help people identify gang members and gang related activity in Green Country.
Oklahoma cities are currently ranked with other major metropolitans like Los Angeles and New York City with having the same number of gang related homicides. There are an estimated 12,000 gang members in the Sooner state and more than 6,000 in Tulsa. About 2,000 of those 6,000 are active members.
In a seminar on Friday, hundreds of law enforcement agencies from across the state and other educators learned about ways to identify gang related activity. They checked out graffiti images, hand signs, tattoos and other artwork identifiers. Gang unit officers talked about why teenagers become gang members.
“It’s the glamorization of the media,” said Tulsa Police Officer Kevin Warne with the Special Investigations Division. “The movies, music, little kids see that. The money the cars, the women, and they want to be a part of that.”
Sherry Strong attended the seminar to better understand gang activity. She is a CLEET certified instructor. She teaches classes to women about protecting themselves from violence with and without a gun.
“At one point I heard the gang members refer to Tulsa as “thug town,” said Strong. “That disturbs me a great deal. I don’t like Tulsa being known as thug town.”
Strong plans to use the OGIA’s Facebook page and other tools the Tulsa gang unit provided to educate her students about gang related violence. She wants to turn “thug town” back into “T-Town”—which, according to several reports, is Tulsa’s nickname dating back to the 19th century.