Local police respond to street gang threat assessment

Police departments in Tupelo and Corinth responded to a recent study on the threat of street gangs released this week.

Posted: Jan 25, 2018 6:25 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2018 6:31 PM

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Police departments in Tupelo and Corinth responded to a recent study on the threat of street gangs released this week. 

The Mississippi Analysis and Information Center details that there are gangs in every single county in the state.

Some may say gang presence has been downplayed in the past, but three main ones are present in our area according to Homeland Security.

“We’re very fortunate that we don’t have a gang problem, but at the same time to deny that we don’t have gang activity would be an error,”said Major Anthony Hill with the Tupelo Police Department's Special Operations.

The recent street gang assessment says in Lee County the top three gangs are the Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords and Simon City Royals.

“Burglaries, robbery, vehicle theft, but it’s not a problematic situation where we don’t have control over it,” commented Hill. 

The investigator says in Tupelo, they’ve found that gangs aren't concerned with territory but primarily with making profit.

In Corinth it’s a different story.

Police Chief Ralph Dance strongly agrees gangs are a problem. Back in 2015, two young men died to violence, all because of two rival gangs, the Black Gangster Disciples and Vice Lords.

About 80 rounds were fired, ending the lives of Ahmarus Swinney and Deonta Herman.

Major Hill says loyalties between gangs can become blurred.

“You may see two gangs that are traditionally against each other come together. Doesn’t matter what sect you’re from, we’re about making money.”

Investigators say there are neighborhood cliques in the area and that kids want to mock what they see on tv and social media with gangs, not knowing the consequences.

They recommend the best plan of action is communication between the police and community.

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