Diversity comes to Dixie.
Middle Tennessee's gangs are no longer just graffiti-spraying juvenile delinquents.
They are armed and dangerous criminal enterprises that recruit young people with the allure of fast money, street status and a sense of belonging — even if the group they join may get them killed or sent to prison.
"People don't understand there are drive-by shootings going on in Murfreesboro," said Ed Yarbrough, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. "There are witness-elimination killings happening at (the) Hickory Hollow Mall (area). We've got this mindset that suburban areas don't have a gang problem, but we need to wake up to the fact that they do and drive them out."
As in Tennessee, gang activity has spiked nationwide.
Nearly 800,000 gang members and 27,000 gangs operate across the 50 states, a Justice Department survey shows. Some estimates have the figure at 2 million gang members.
While there are no statewide numbers, gangs are present in most of the state's 95 counties, including many communities in the Nashville area, a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report says. Police have identified 5,000 gang members in Davidson County. Murfreesboro estimates 400 to 500. Columbia has 200.
Softsoap, liberal-whining type gang warning page: