No Neighborhood Free from Gang Activity

No Neighborhood Free from Gang Activity

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Samantha Hayes ReportingInvestigators found their Public Enemy Number One in a neighborhood you would probably consider very safe, East Millcreek in Salt Lake County to be exact. They say gang activity has spread to all corners of the valley and they need a better system to track it.

Investigators say the best system is one any police officer in Utah could access from the patrol car. Sounds easy enough, but it's a long way from happening.

When Gene Garza allegedly shot and killed a rival gang member on a busy West Valley Street it was no longer between the two of them. Cindy Comeaux's car was hit head-on after the shooting. Until now she never had a reason to believe she would become a victim of gang violence.

Lt. Del Craig: “They live all over.”

Lt. Del Craig and the Salt Lake Metro Gang Unit document gang activity and members.

Lt. Del Craig: “You could name any neighborhood and I could find you a gang member. 'Olympus Cove?' I could find you a gang member in Olympus Cove. 'Sandy?' Sandy as well. 'Sugarhouse?' Sugarhouse as well."

But facilitating information among these different neighborhoods may require a better system. One idea investigators are proposing is a gang data base that would be accessed by any police officer anytime.

Lt. Del Craig: “Can put in a name, pull the information up, see if they are gang related at all.”

But that idea is running into problems. For example, there are four dispatch systems in the Salt Lake Valley.

Lt. Del Craig: “We must make sure it’s user friendly, it’s compatible to existing systems.”

Investigators say the gang problem is growing, and a quicker, more efficient tracking and information system may help keep the streets from becoming crime scenes.

Funding for the necessary software and server is also a challenge: federal money ebbs and flows for projects like the gang task force so an alternative is seeking donations from corporations.

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