Ganging Up on Gangs

LARGO -

Authorities are concerned about growing gang activity in the state. It's more than numbers. Gangs have become more sophisticated with their crimes. So, law enforcement and prevention officials are joining efforts to fight back.

Authorities estimate there are more than 1000 gangs operating in Florida. Their level of crime, however, varies greatly from dealing drugs to more sophisticated Identity theft according to Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee.

Gee has been named chairman of the newly formed regional council that will share strategies on how to reduce gang activity and prevent kids from joining.

Jim Madden, special agent in charge of the Tampa Bay region of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, will be his co-chair.

'Gang members get arrested every day,' Madden says. 'But until we're able to bring concerted effort against the group or organization, nobody goes to jail for any length of time.'

Madden says one goal or the newly formed council will be to get an accurate count on the number of gangs in the state so they can measure the effectiveness of reduction programs.

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