Friday, July 11, 2008

Little gangsters

Many people in Lincoln don't realize that despite our seemingly bucolic lifestyle, the City does indeed have it's own gang problem. I suppose that unless you're a police officer, a teacher, or you live in the right neighborhood, you just don't pick up on the signs. But they are there, and we've had plenty of significant gang-related crimes.

There was a small one this week that folks should cause more people to set up and take notice. We cleared up a dozen gang graffiti cases after an alert citizen heard the tell-tale sound of the bead shaking inside a spray can. The suspects were located with some good beat-knowledge and follow-up by Officer Megan Schreiner, Tom Stumbo and their Southwest Team colleagues. It was the second set of good graffiti vandalism arrests of the month.

Who are these desperadoes caught red-handed this week (actually, silver-handed)? Two twelve year olds and a thirteen year old. That's sixth grade, isn't it? Well, I guess the 13 year old might be a seventh grader. He's becoming an habitual offender, though--he was just picked up earlier this year for the same thing, and is assembling an impressive string of offenses for a guy that won't be shaving for a few years.

No one should relax and think of these kids as "wannabes." When kids that should be playing with Hot Wheels are aspiring to be Vice Lords, tagging their neighborhood with their marks this is not a good thing, and it does not make me feel any better. We best not let down our guard or be lulled into a sense of complacency as a community.


Anonymous said...

How I miss the days when there was only one gang the kids looked up to.

Don't do drugs.

Anonymous said...

So they tag to mark territory? I always wondered why one would do that.
I know this isn't the root of the problem but where do these kids get the spray paint. Steal it? Or if they indeed buy it, I'd be suspicious if a kid bought several cans of spray paint - or 57 like the one set of vandels.

Anonymous said...

I still call these little piles of trash wannabes - wannabe inmates. I'd like to take away the wannabe part, and let them be inmates. If you aspire to be part of an organized criminal gang, then you should be treated like a member of such a gang.

I'm not saying we should chuck every 12 year old non-violent street gang publicist in the state pen, but physical labor (and highly-disciplined traditional education) in a reform school for a few years wouldn't be a terrible idea. Get them away from their weak parent (and it is singular in most cases) and into a structured system, surrounded by stern but fair adults that won't take any of their crap.

At least they won't be in a school system that doesn't care if they learn or not. One that won't flunk them, because that's bad for their self-esteem.

Anonymous said...

July 11, 2008 10:32 AM says it is singular in most cases.
Well it is also "I have to mommys" or "I have two daddys"
Now that is a breakdown of this world. Is that too "sensitive" or unpolitical correct?
Oh my, we might offend someone?
Truth is truth.

Anonymous said...

Again, my point is made by others. Back in the day we had officers that would actually get out of the car in the hood and get to know the kids. You rarely see any officers out walking the area they are in talking to the kids playing.

We rarely see any officers in our hood period. I guess its because we live in an area that is not that bad. Still would be nice to see the officers walking around talking to the people that live here! Then you look at the mayor's budget and see that the SRO's may be kicked. What are we doing? Do we not see the value? You got officers making the calls for fireworks, sitting on corners running selectives and catching speeders but we cant spend a little time getting to know our kids. I guess it all boils down to budgets.

Question is do we care about feeding LPS dollars by fines and then them not want to support the SRO's. Or would we rather pay for officers to really get to know our kids in the enviroment they live, not a controlled place like school.

I personally would rather have an officer come into the hood and get to know our kids, its more personal!

Two Guns said...

There are several things I think we should be doing to combat this problem:
1. Change the laws to REQUIRE the news media to publish the names and addresses of the parents of the offenders.
2. Publish the name of the school that these offenders attend also.
3. Instead of imposing fines and jail times make these young offenders do community service like cleaning up defaced property and picking up trash.
4. Maybe it is time to get back to assigning officers a "beat" that they walk with back up by officers in cars or on bikes. The high cost of gasoline may require this anyway.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

I disagree that officers aren't meeting the kids. I have a 5 year old nephew. I introduced him to a police officer at the age of 3. The officer was polite, very informative, and advised him on how to stay safe. Look at the police website on calls answered. These officers aren't running for president, so no they aren't going to go to neighborhoods to meet people. They are busy with calls. Look at the amount of calls they get in a day.

Tom Casady said...

Two guns:

We do assign officers to beats. Trouble is, you've got an average of about 40 officers on duty at any given time in a City of a quarter million. If we made beats based on an equal population for each officer, that would make your "beat" about the size of Ralston, Sidney, Gretna or Crete. Even if you had no calls for service to respond to, and no follow-up to attend to, you'd be able to walk only a small portion of your beat.

In reality, since the City is so large, the officers so few, and the demand for police services concentrated more intensely in certain areas, our beats tend to be much larger. The biggest--Southeast B Beat, would be the third largest City in Nebraska.

As much as everyone might want to return to the gentler age when the officer on foot walked a beat of a dozen square blocks and knew all the shopkeepers by name, it just isn't going to happen when you have the smallest police force per capita in the state, and the 181st smallest of 194 police departments in Nebraska and every surrounding state, right in between Indianola, Iowa and Liberty, Missouri (not to mention the only one with a population of 200,000 that's even in the bottom half).

Anonymous said...

And several times a week the Southeast B beat, among others, is staffed with only 2 officers.

Anonymous said...

Here's a link back to a January post, with a map showing that you are indeed putting your buckets of water where the fires are burning (so to speak). Perhaps an even better analogy would be concentrating your finite supply of mallets where most of the local whac-a-moles usually pop up.

Anonymous said...

two guns:
I don't think publishing the names of the parents is a good idea unless the parents are actually delinquent. I know of numerous parents that are good caring and active parents and their kids still get into trouble. Your idea's 1 and 2 are putting the blame on others rather than makeing these kids take responsibility for themselves. Idea 3 sounds good. How about the Peace Corp or sending them to some third world country for a year or two, instead of jail time. Jail doesn't do anything for anybody. It just costs alot. Use that money to teach and train. Your ideas don't amount to anything except blaming someone else and scare tactics. Useless ideas.

Anonymous said...

Jail does do something - it keeps the inmate from visiting any crimes on the citizenry for the entire time that the inmate is locked up! That's what incarceration does, gets trash out of society, and keeps them where they can harm only other inmates. Build more cells, tax us to pay for it, and keep the thugs in there for their full sentence with no early releases.

On another note, I don't dislike the Peace Corps or the people that join it, so I don't want to make them work next to and live with any little thugs, any more than I want to send adult thugs to war zones and thus force volunteer troops to have to trust the recent career thug next to them, a thug armed with an M16-A2. As someone said, "usless ideas".

Mark Bach said...

When speaking about gangs, there are no wannabes - they are gonnabes.

Intervention is the key

Two Guns said...

To Anon 4:34: I think you underestimate the pressure that a set of parents or more likely a single parent can put on their kids if those parent/s are humiliated by having their name/s listed in the local media as parent/s of a juvenile delinquent. Peer and parent pressure has always been an effective tool in controlling behavior. By prohibiting the publishing of names of Juvenile offenders and their parents we have just abolished another tool.

Is it going to solve the problem 100%? Heck no. However it may make a big difference. Just suppose it was your kid that did an evil deed and his name was published alongside yours in the local newspaper. Would you take steps to see that nothing like that happened again? I'll bet you would.

Gun Nut (or Two Guns)

Anonymous said...

Nikki Ebeler
Blog “little gangsters”
Friday July 11 2008

I chose this blog because I think people need to realize this is a problem, most of the older crowd are likely to agree although the younger crowds ranging from early teens to late twenties are the ones who usually assume these occurrences are from gang wannabes and should not be taken seriously. They could never be so wrong, wannabes or not where or when is the line crossed when they are looked at as real gang bangers or someone dangerous? When they shoot another thirteen year old for his shoes, or because he was “talking shit” to them or their friends? It’s sad to say but yes this is only when people listen or realize the cold hard truth, when it’s too late. Besides all old Gs “older gang members who managed to survive the streets and prison” started out as little gangster wannabes at one time too, so the question falls when will they be taken seriously? Hopefully Chief Cassidy makes his towns people aware of the problem before it’s too late. In this day and age incidences like Columbine and Von Maur could easily find them selves to the Lincoln area and after the gang shooting in Millard not too long ago should be an eye opener for Lincoln residents. I will be posting this blog to Chief Cassidy and I hope he realizes I agree with him one hundred percent on this matter and as a Twenty four year old college student I am behind his one hundred percent on any percussion measures he would like to take on informing communities on this ever so serious and growing problem.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that "July 11, 2008 1:04 PM" is not so ignorant as to point the blame for gang related problems to same sex marriage or unions. If that is the case, you really ought to get the new parts for your brain. It's time for an update.

Anonymous said...

Ref: July 11, 2008 1:40

If you were speaking Truth vs Personal Opinion it might be a valid point. As it is you've provided no evidence supporting your claim and proven that your grammar is poor as well, you poor deluded terrified little person.

For your info:
It's "two" not "to."
The phrase is "politically incorrect."