KEARNS – The Unified Police Department is hoping people in Kearns, Magna and West Valley have had enough of the gang violence growing in those cities. They invited residents to a town hall meeting on curbing gang growth.
The recent rash of violence appears to be due to a “beef” between two specific gangs. Unified Police Detective one gang recently moved into the area from California, and members are fighting to be the dominant group. “It’s an old story. It has been going on for a long time. To most of us, it doesn’t make any sense to be fighting over just colors. Sometimes, it’s turf,” Hansen says.
One major problem that gang units have in Utah is similar to what officers in other cities are facing… people refusing to speak to police out of fear of retribution from the gang. Hansen says the only way for gangs to be stopped is for local residents to get involved. He says, “The community needs to tell the police what’s going on so that it can get stopped. If you don’t do that, then it spreads and you get into that kind of inner-city mentality where no one wants to say anything.”
Hansen says they don’t want to incarcerate all gang members, but, there are effective ways to fight back. “You go after the leadership of the gangs and get them out of there. The remainder of the gangs, you divert them to community programs and you have to help not just them, but you have to help their families,” Hansen says.
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