EditorialGrowing menace

Growing menace

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Street gangs and their associated problems had started to worry Dumaguetenos several years back. There had been growing reports of teenaged boys or young men lurking in the dark, wearing black shirts or shirts with the symbol of the skull printed on them. And there often were reports of violence between groups. There must have been several gangs roaming the City streets back then but two names stood out–the Bloods and the Crips.

Authorities have tried to downplay the existence of these groups as mere “copycats” of the Bloods and Crips gangs in the United States. By the “copycat” tag, perhaps the intention was to influence them to opt out of their romantic adventure. But with each new violent incident came the realization that copycat or not, the violence they inflict against each other is as real as night and day.

Last month, a resident of Pamplona town by the name of Jelo Rosales was shot in the head at the Quezon Park. This was in addition to the fatal shooting of another gang member, Marlon Hurquiza, one week earlier. Both victims were said to be members of gangs and both were believed to have died because of gang-related violence.

City Police Department came up with a controversial list in 2007. The list contained names of gang members in Dumaguete. The list, which included sons of prominent politicians, caused the gangmembers’ fathers to get angry. It would come as no surprise if the rumor that the fathers of the gang members caused the transfer of the chief of police back then, was true.

These gangs may have had spurious beginnings but now, they appear to have become bigger and bolder. They have become a reality that the City has to deal with.

Knowing the enemy is winning half the war. The authorities already have a list of members of these two groups. It could work to improve on this list and get to the bottom of this problem.

We do not profess to know how to eliminate street gangs. But the City has all the resources at its disposal. It has the psychologists, social workers and most of all, it has the police. Let us see how effective the authorities can be in dealing with this growing menace.

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