Gang Investigation 101 combines a multitude of tasks and abilities necessary for today’s gang investigator to be successful. These abilities include:
- The ability to identify the signs of gangs at their inception. This includes Colors, Symbols, Graffiti, Gang Clothing, Speech and Terminology, Rituals, Initiations, etc…
- The ability to identify the negative effects of the gang on the community such as a decreased quality of life and community fear.
- The ability to identify all the criminal activities of the gang regardless of how minor they may be.
- The ability to understand ethnic and gang culture. Each gang has their own culture and their own ethnic culture. It is important to learn about both.
- The ability to successfully debrief gang members. Debriefing gang members is an important aspect of gang investigation. Every gang member has information and a good gang investigator takes every opportunity to obtain information.
- The ability to cultivate informants among gang members.
- The ability to successfully Interview and Interrogate gang members. Even though gang members can be some of the lowest human beings you’ll ever meet, they need to be interviewed and interrogated to obtain information and confessions.
- The ability to remain current on gang trends and issues. Training and networking must be a constant endeavor.
- The ability to work in a coordinated (synergy) close relationship with other agencies.
- The ability to work closely with a prosecutor and understand the law.
- The ability to work closely with the community. The community is a wealth of information and can provide resources to help combat gangs.
- The ability to network with other law enforcement officers, investigators, gang investigators, and other regions.
- The ability to train and communicate gang identification to your peers.
- The ability to communicate gang resistance to youth and members of the community.
Gang investigation is not as simplistic as other investigations because gangs involve many members and a constant source of recruits. Every gang investigation must be multifaceted and consider a variety of resources and disciplines to be successful. With the increasing popularity of ‘gangsters’ in the media, all law enforcement agencies must endeavor to combat gangs proactively.