SALT LAKE CITY -- The Ogden Trece injunction has brought a decrease in gang-related crime activity, Ogden police detectives said.
But they are also seeing another Ogden gang spread its recruitment tactics to elementary and junior high school students in the Syracuse and Layton areas, the officers from the Ogden Metro Gang Unit said.
Ogden police detectives Shane Keyes and Nathan "Boo" Jacobsen spoke at a workshop at the 23rd annual Utah Gang Conference at the South Towne Expo Center on Wednesday. The conference runs through today. About 850 people from all over Utah, including law enforcement, social workers, probation officers, educators and faith-based community workers attended the event.
Jacobsen said even though Ogden's gang unit is still busy, it has seen a decrease in reported gang-related crimes. In 2007 about 75 gang-related cases a month were reported to police, with 16 of those cases being violent. In 2013 the average number of cases reported a month is 53, with six of those cases per month considered violent.
In the last 18 months, though, officers have become aware of junior high students and sixth-graders being recruited.
Ogden Police Lt. Scott Conley said the reason gangs are recruiting middle-school age children is that "they have no documented crime history and they can carry dope and weapons for them."
Conley said the pull for the kids is the money.
He said a woman called him asking him for help because her daughter was hanging out with a gang member and she had received $800 from him in one month.
Conley said the injunction has served as a reason for some members of the Ogden Trece to leave the gang.
"Some tell other individuals they don't want to be with them, because they were served an injunction and there is a possibility for an arrest," Conley said.
Conley said the injunction is not the only reason for the decrease in Trece activity. The community also has taken a large role in decreasing the gang-related crime activities.
He gives credit to the Community, Re-entry, Opportunities, Social and Suppression program for addressing Ogden's gang problems.
The intervention program works with youths and families to help them get out of the gang lifestyle.
But even with the intervention program, officers need to be aware of what gangs in Weber and Davis counties are doing.
Jacobsen said even though some gangs have written codes of conduct, which "really sounds honorable," what it all comes down to is illegal drugs, guns and money.
Jacobsen and Keyes showed photos of gang members who had been stabbed or shot by rival gangs or their own gang members.
The majority of the time, the gang members who were the victims would not tell police who shot or stabbed them, Keyes said.
"Straight up the code is no talking to the police, and they won't talk," which makes prosecution of an aggravated assault difficult at best, Keyes said.