Currently there are 1664 gangs identified by law enforcement within the state of Florida.The 2012 Annual Report on gang activity conducted by the Florida Office of the Attorney General states that, “these gangs are typically homegrown local youth neighborhood gangs that have the very real potential of being subsumed by long established and well organized national gangs.”
Miami Garden Community Responds to Juvenile Gang Violence
In Miami Gardens police have identified at least 10 active gangs with more than 100 gang members residing within city limits according to a Miami Herald news report. Members of the community recently rallied in the streets of their neighborhood to respond to juvenile gang violence.
According to a report by WSNV Channel 7 News, The rally was triggered by the death of 12- year-old Tequila Forshee who was shot in the head and killed sitting inside her grandmother’s home on Aug. 15. Police investigating the shooting are searching for five male suspects between the ages of 15 to 18.
Members of Tequilla’s family have stated that they believe the shooting was gang-related and that Tequilla’s 16-year-old cousin was the possible target. An aunt of Tequilla said, “This crime and juvenile violence has been persistent in our community…It’s real. It happened to us, and it can happen to anyone, so we really want them to understand that if we don’t take a stand together it’s going to be someone else.”
Florida House of Representatives enacts Youth Gang Prevention Law
On October 1, 2013 HB 407 will become effective. The law will make it a second degree felony to recruit a person under the age of 13 to become a criminal gang member where a condition to become a member of the gang is to commit a crime. Individuals charged with second or subsequent violations of this law will face first degree felony charges.
Many Florida residents may not be aware of this new law. Because recruitment is a somewhat vague term, it is easy to see local residents who break the new rule even without knowing that they are committing a crime.
Why do Florida youth turn to gangs?
As discussed by the Florida Gang Reduction Coalition some major factors that contribute to Youth Gang Involvement are:
- A youth that lives in neighborhood where gangs already exist, and where drugs and firearms are readily available
- Lack of opportunities for involvement in positive activities and hobbies, or too much unsupervised leisure time
- Problems at home; poor family management; poor parental supervision
- Low attachment to school; poor educational or employment potential
Don’t forget, charges and/or a conviction of juvenile gang related activity can have a lifetime impact for the accused. If you or someone you know if facing these accusation, be sure to get professional support to fight the charges. For help defending against such charges, call 877-663-5110.