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Prepared By:

M elissa Cordeiro Gang Proje ct Coordinator

The

City of Tacoma

Technical A ssistance By:

Nation al Gang Center

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Acknowledgements

The Tacoma Gang Assessment would not have been possible without the support and efforts of many people and organizations. Deepest gratitude is due to the members of the Tacoma Gang Project Executive Steering Committee for their commitment and vision:

City of Tacoma Council – Chair, Victoria Woodards City of Tacoma Council – Vice Chair, Joe Lonergan Tacoma School District – Superintendent Art Jarvis Tacoma Police Department – Chief Don Ramsdell Metro Parks District of Tacoma – Director Jack Wilson Greater Tacoma Community Foundation – Director Rose Lincoln Hamilton Tacoma Human Rights & Human Services Department – Director Linda Villegas Bremer Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration – Assistant Secretary John Clayton Pierce County Superior Court – Judge Frank Cuthbertson Puyallup Tribe of Indians Police – Chief Joe Duenas Northwest Leadership Foundation – Director Pat Talton

Special thanks also to representatives from the Tacoma Gang Project Community Steering Committee from the following organizations for their cooperation and interest:

Allen Renaissance Asian Pacific Cultural Center Associated Ministries Big Brothers/Big Sisters Black Collective Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound CampFire USA Chamber of Commerce Citizens of Tacoma Citizen Review Panel Communities in Schools - Tacoma Community Based Services - City of Tacoma Department of Corrections Department of Social Health Services Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Hilltop Action Coalition Hilltop Artists in Residence

Hilltop Neighborhood Council Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Human Rights Commission Human Services Commission Metropolitan Parks District of Tacoma Northwest Leadership Foundation Pierce County Juvenile Court Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office Puyallup Tribe of Indians Safe Streets Tacoma 360 Tacoma Community College Tacoma School Resource Officers Tacoma Public Schools Tacoma Urban League United Way of Pierce County YMCA

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

In addition to the support of the members of the Tacoma Gang Project Executive and Community Steering Committees, the data in this report was compiled with the help of dedicated employees from the following additional agencies:

Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound City of Tacoma – GIS Department Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration Metropolitan Parks District of Tacoma Pierce County Sheriff’s Office

Tacoma 360 Tacoma Pierce County Health Department Tacoma Police Department Tacoma School District United Way of Pierce County

The City of Tacoma would also like to acknowledge the assistance of Executive Interface, LLC in data collection and for constructing an early draft of the assessment.

And finally, sincerest thanks to the Tacoma Gang Project Internal Strategic Team, for their support and assistance throughout the project!

Tacoma Human Rights & Human Services Department – Director Linda Villegas Bremer Tacoma Human Rights & Human Services Department – Project Coordinator Melissa Cordeiro Tacoma City Manager’s Office – Management Fellow Gabe Engeland Tacoma Police Department – Assistant Chief Bob Sheehan Tacoma Police Department – Captain Mark Langford Tacoma Police Department – Captain Peter Cribbin Tacoma Police Department – Lieutenant Bart Hayes

THIS ASSESSMENT FOLLOWS THE REGULATION AND FORMAT OF THE OFFICE OF JUVENILE

JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION (OJJDP) COMPREHENSIVE GANG MODEL WITH

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROVIDED BY THE NATIONAL GANG CENTER.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Table of Contents

 

Page

LIST

OF

TABLES

5

LIST

OF

FIGURES

7

SECTION 1: EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

8

SECTION

2:

INTRODUCTION

12

SECTION

3:

KEY FINDINGS

19

SECTION 4: DATA SETS

4.1 COMMUNITY

 

31

4.2 LAW ENFORCEMENT

44

4.3 SCHOOL DATA

 

91

4.4 COMMUNITY

PERCEPTIONS DATA

99

4.5 COMMUNITY

RESOURCES

116

SECTION

5:

METHODOLOGY

119

SECTION 6: DISPROPORTIONATE MINORITY CONTACT

125

SECTION

7:

APPENDICES

129

APPENDIX

1:

Memorandum of Understanding

130

APPENDIX

2:

Data Collection Tools

135

APPENDIX

3:

Additional Data

190

APPENDIX 4: Community Resource Guide

309

APPENDIX

5:

Footnotes/Endnotes

361

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

List of Tables:

Page

Table 1. Overview of Tacoma’s Demographic Information

32

Table 2. West End Neighborhood Demographics

34

Table 3. North End Neighborhood Demographics

35

Table 4. North East Neighborhood Demographics

36

Table 5. New Tacoma Neighborhood Demographics

37

Table 6. Central Neighborhood Demographics

38

Table 7. South Tacoma Neighborhood Demographics

39

Table 8. South End Neighborhood Demographics

40

Table 9. Eastside Neighborhood Demographics

41

Table 10. Tacoma Gangs by Number of Associates and Members

47

Table 11. Tacoma Gang Sets by Number of Associates and Members

48

Table 12. Gangs By Gender Breakdown

49

Table 13. Identified Gang Members/Associates by Race

50

Table 14. Identified Gang Members and Associates in Tacoma, by Age

51

Table 15. Identified Crip Gang Members/Associates, by Demographic Factors

52

Table 16. Identified Blood Gang Members/Associates, by Demographic Factors

53

Table 17. Identified Other Gang Members/Associates, by Demographic Factors

54

Table 18. Identified Surenos Gang Members/Associates, by Demographic Factors

55

Table 19. Reported Gang Crimes

58

Table 20. Gang-Involved Offenses

63

Table 21. Gang-Involved Offenses

64

Table 22. Gang Crime Offender Demographics

83

Table 23. Offender Age Breakdown for ALL Crimes Against Persons in Tacoma

88

Table 24. Victim Demographics

89

Table 25. 2010-2011 Tacoma School District Demographics, by School Year

91

Table 26. 2010-2011 Tacoma School District Demographics, by Level of Education

92

Table 27. Tacoma Middle School Standardized Test Results (2009-2011)

93

Table 28. Tacoma High School Standardized Test Results (2009-2011)

93

Table 29. School Attainment and Behavior Incidents by School Location

94

Table 30. Tacoma School District Behavior Incidents, By School Level

95

Table 31. Tacoma School District Violent Behavior Incidents, By School Level

95

Table 32. Tacoma Public Schools - Healthy Youth Survey (2010)

97

Table 33. Do you think there are gangs in your neighborhood?

100

Table 34. Community Perceptions of the top problems caused by gangs

101

Table 35. Do you think that your child (ren) are At-Risk of joining a gang or gang activity?

101

Table 36. Community Perceptions of the causes of gang activity

102

Table 37. Community Perceptions of the top solutions for addressing gang activity

103

Table 38. Resident’s ranking of who is responsible for addressing gang activity

104

Table 39. Community Leaders response to gangs

104

Table 40. Residents response to gangs

105

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Table 41. Thoughts from Residents (Individual Open Ended Responses)

106

Table 42. Demographics of At-Risk & Admittedly Gang-Involved Individuals

106

Table 43. Neighborhoods of At-Risk & Admittedly Gang-Involved Youth

108

Table 44. Gang-Involved Individuals Age at time of Joining Gang

109

Table 45. Did Family/Friends Have a Role in Joining Gangs?

109

Table 46. Reasons why Admittedly Gang-Involved Individuals joined gangs

110

Table 47. Education Status of At-Risk & Admittedly Gang-Involved Youth

110

Table 48. School Status of At-Risk & Admittedly Gang-Involved Individuals

111

Table 49. Tacoma School District Disciplinary Action Report

111

Table 50. Family Status of At-Risk & Admittedly Gang-Involved Youth

112

Table 51. Employment Status of At-Risk & Admittedly Gang-Involved Youth

112

Table 52. Gang-Involved & At-Risk Individual’s Perceptions of the cause of gang activity

113

Table 53. Admittedly Gang-Involved Individuals – Will you ever leave the gang?

113

Table 54. Admittedly Gang-Involved Individuals’ Reasons for Leaving a Gang

114

Table 55. Access to Handguns

114

Table 56. Access to Drugs

115

Table 57. Depicts high level analysis in determining DMC

127

Table 58. Depicts the differences in relative rates for arrests made by

127

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

List of Figures:

Page

Figure 1. Tacoma Neighborhood Council Districts

33

Figure 2. Percentage of Families Below the Poverty Level in Tacoma, by Neighborhood

42

Figure 3. Median Family Income in Tacoma, by Neighborhood

43

Figure 4. High School Non-Completion Rate, by Neighborhood

43

Figure 5. Individuals Identified as Gang Associates/Members, by Race

50

Figure 6. Racial/Ethnic Demographics of 2010 Census compared to Gang Intelligence

51

Figure 7. Age Range by Gang (Identified Gang Members /Associates)

52

Figure 8. Hilltop Crips Demographics

55

Figure 9. Knoccoutz (Crips) Demographics

56

Figure 10. Eastside Pirus Demographics

56

Figure 11. Juggalos Demographics

57

Figure 12. Surenos 13 Demographics

57

Figure 13. Gang-Involved Crimes By Month

59

Figure 14. Gang-Involved Crimes Per Month

60

Figure 15. Map of Tacoma’s Neighborhood Districts

62

Figure 16. Gang-Involved Offenses

63

Figure 17. Gang-Involved Offenses

64

Figure 18. Depicts the locations for gang related and gang affiliated crimes in 2011*

65

Figure 19. Depicts the locations for gang related and gang affiliated crimes in 2010

65

Figure 20. Depicts the locations for gang related and gang affiliated crimes in 2009

66

Figure 21. Central Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

67

Figure 22. Eastside Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

69

Figure 23. New Tacoma Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

71

Figure 24. Northeast Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

73

Figure 25. North End Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

74

Figure 26. South End Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

75

Figure 27. South Tacoma Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

77

Figure 28. West End Neighborhood Gang Crime Profile

79

Figure 29. Density of Gang-Involved Offenses (includes DV related)

81

Figure 30. Offender Demographics Comparison for Gang-Involved Crimes

84

Figure 31. Offender Demographics Comparison for Gang-Involved Crimes Against Persons

85

Figure 32. Offender Demographics Comparison for Gang-Involved Crimes Against Property

86

Figure 33. Offender Demographics Comparison for Gang-Involved Crimes Against Society

87

Figure 34. Offender Age Group by Crimes Against Category*

88

Figure 35. Victim Demographic Comparisons

90

Figure 36. Respondent Neighborhoods

100

Figure 37. Neighborhoods of Gang-Involved or At-Risk Respondents

108

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

SECTION 1. Executive Summary

Gangs are expanding, evolving and posing an increasing threat to US communities nationwide. Many gangs are sophisticated criminal networks with members who engage in less typical and lower-risk crime, including identity theft, fraud, money laundering, fencing stolen goods, and counterfeiting, due to lower risk and higher financial rewards. Gangs are more adaptable, organized, sophisticated, and opportunistic, exploiting new and advanced technology as a means to recruit, communicate discreetly, target their rivals, and perpetuate their criminal activity. 1

In response to this increased gang activity across the country the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention developed several programs and tools, one of which is the Comprehensive Gang Model. The model is intended to bring both public and private policy makers together to reduce the participation in and impact of gang activity. As such, this assessment serves as a tool for establishing a means of communications among community, social and public leaders to break out of the traditional silos that exist within each factor of society and enable this leadership team to select from a multidisciplinary set of tools to reduce gang activity, based upon the needs of each youth and not the capabilities of an individual service provider.

This assessment provides the necessary information for the City’s Executive Leadership to implement strategies acceptable to all facets of society that help identify gang activity, why that behavior exists and a unified approach to reduce the impact of gang violence and gang activity in the City of Tacoma.

1.1 Project Leadership At the inception of this project, key leaders and policy makers from the City were identified by the City Council and brought together to form the Executive Steering Committee. This committee is supported by a larger collection of community partners, the Community Steering Committee, and a handful of city staff that form the Internal Strategic Team. The Community Steering Committee provides community input for all processes and outcomes of the project, while the Internal Strategic Team organizes and facilitates the project.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

1.2 Purpose

This assessment is designed to provide the most accurate, up to date snapshot of the demographic, economic, legal and education environments to enable the communities to better understand why gang activity exists, where it exists, who participates in this activity, where, and when these crimes occur. It is also designed to express the community’s impressions and thoughts on gang activity. This includes what they feel causes gang activity, the problems it imparts on the community and the impact it has on businesses, families, schools and the community as a whole, and the solutions the community believes should be employed to address the issues.

Thought by some to be the most important aspect of this assessment is the input from existing and former gang members. The assessment attempts to collect information as to the types of gang activity in which they participated, their reasons for becoming affiliated with gangs and participating in gang activity and lastly, what efforts would prove instrumental in convincing them to break their affiliation with gangs and gang activity.

1.3 Goals and Objectives

The Goal of this assessment is to create a better understanding of who is involved in gang crime, where

in the community it is concentrated, how it is impacting the local community, and additional factors related to local gang problems. We will attain this goal by reaching the following objectives:

1. Identify the top indicators (e.g. truancy) that are predictors for gang activity later in life and identify the top risk factors facing Tacoma youth.

2. Identify potential factors contributing to gang problems, including gang activity and gang joining.

3. Identify target populations for prevention, intervention and suppression efforts.

4. Identify the most serious and prevalent gang-related problems, where they exist, and what communities they effect.

5. Identify and prioritize various organizational or systems issues that must be addressed to have long-term effect on the problem.

6. Identify current efforts from government, community groups, non-profit organizations, private group, and other organizations that address gangs and gang-involved youth.

7. Identify local community groups, organizations, non-profits, and other organizations that can help attract additional expertise, support or funding for the implementation of this project.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

8. Increase the ability of the City and its partners to address disproportionate minority contact (DMC) to determine if there is a correlation between DMC and gang activity in Tacoma.

1.4 Target Community

While the model and supporting assessment guide stress the need to evaluate those areas of the city where gang activity is most prevalent, the City of Tacoma decided to conduct a city-wide assessment. This tactic is supported by the overwhelming support from the community at large as well as the law enforcement, education and other government and private stakeholders. In an effort to facilitate the collection of geospatial information while ensuring the privacy of all who have assisted with this effort, it was decided to conduct the analysis based on the eight major neighborhood council areas that make up the city. These include The East Side, Northeast Tacoma, The West End, The North End, South Tacoma, The South End, Central Tacoma and New Tacoma.

1.5 Key Findings

In order to develop the following key findings, data was analyzed from several sectors of the city, such as: community demographics, law enforcement intelligence, local school and youth, community perceptions and input, and community resources. Once all the data was gathered and analyzed, the following key themes were identified by the Executive Steering Committee with the assistance of the National Gang Center:

1. Five neighborhoods (South Tacoma, South End, Eastside, Central, and New Tacoma) are disproportionately impacted by gangs, gang crime and related risk factors.

2. Involvement in gangs facilitates access to weapons and drugs, leading to high levels of gang member involvement in weapons offenses, drive-by shootings, aggravated assaults, and drug offenses.

3. Middle school is a critical time period for youth in Tacoma, when they are exposed to elevated levels of risk and are making decisions about gang joining.

4. Gaps in information/data about gangs have affected Tacoma’s ability to understand and significantly impact the local gang problem.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

1.6 Methodology & Source Data The information collected in this assessment came from many sources. Open source data was utilized when the gathering of first hand data was not feasible. The following are the main data sources for each section of the report:

Community Demographics:

2010 United States Census

2005-2009 American Community Survey

City of Tacoma’s GIS Department

Law Enforcement:

2009-2011 Tacoma Police Incident Reports

Tacoma Police Department Gang Intelligence data

School and Youth Data:

2010 Healthy Youth Survey

Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction “Report Card”

2011 Staff and Faculty Survey

Tacoma School District Research and Evaluation Department

Community Perceptions:

2011 Parent Survey

2011 Resident Survey

2011 Community Leader Survey

2011 Gang Member Interviews

Community Resources:

United Way of Pierce County’s 211 Database

Tacoma 360’s Community Programs List

Additional data is also available in the appendices of the assessment report.

FOOTNOTES/ENDNOTES FOR THIS REPORT ARE LOCATED IN APPENDIX 5

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

SECTION 2. Introduction

Since the 1980s, Tacoma’s urban core had a gritty and dangerous reputation – one of gangs, high crime rates, and drug dealing. Gang activity affected livability in Tacoma’s Hilltop and Eastside neighborhoods, and in the Puyallup Tribe’s urban reservations integrated within the eastside city limits of Tacoma. Over the past fifteen years, the residents, community organizations, and leaders of Tacoma and the Puyallup Tribe organized to reduce crime and improve the lives and prospects of youth and families. As a result of this collaboration youth crime declined 2 . However, as the following report will show, over the past three years, the prevalence of youth involvement in gangs and youth violence is on the rise.

According to the 2008 Gangs In Schools Task Force report 3 , “multiple factors contribute to the recent increase in gang activity, including: multi-generational gangs, lack of gang intervention programs, demographic changes, migration patterns and the recent return of older gang members from prison to the communities. Gang intervention programs that started to address the last peak of activity in the early 1990s were cut back or eliminated as gang activity declined, leaving a notable gap in services and support for at-risk youth.”

There are four major gang types – Bloods, Crips, Nortenos and Surenos – in Tacoma with approximately 434 known members and 217 known associates. An additional 76 known members and 13 known associates are categorized as Other; not categorized in the four major gangs. The evidence of their presence is seen in widespread “tagging” throughout the city in addition to clothing, tattoos and gang signs being displayed. Law enforcement officials report an increase of 30 percent in known gang members between 2007 and 2009. Beyond known gang members, law enforcement estimates additional gang members are also active in the community, particularly in the younger ages. Many of these youth are increasingly influenced by Original Gangsters (OGs) who are now returning to the community, having spent years in prisons.

The National Gang Intelligence Center Threat Survey, conducted in 2008, identified Pierce County, where Tacoma is located, as having between 2,500 and 3,500 suspected gang members. The Threat Survey, based on feedback and data provided by local law enforcement, identifies that Hispanic gangs, aligned with the California based La Eme, had migrated into the Northwest. The conflicts between these gangs and local African American and Hispanic gangs have resulted in increased violence and expansion of criminal activity.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

In addition to violence related to inter-gang conflict, the presence of gang members in Tacoma has increased generalized criminal activity in its neighborhoods. The gangs in these communities are involved in drug trafficking, juvenile prostitution, firearms violations, and violent crime among other criminal activities.

2.1 Previous or current attempts to address the problem Prevention and Intervention: In 2007, the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department conducted a survey of Evidence Based Programs (EBPs) and Promising Practices (PPs) for youth violence prevention in Tacoma and surrounding Pierce County. The survey identified 21 different youth violence EBPs and PPs were implemented or were planned for implementation in 2007. Of these, approximately 40 percent had been proven to be effective with minority youth populations. In response to the community concern, the City, through the Gang Assessment will be looking back at those programs that worked; and through communication, collaboration and targeted programming restore the programs that will assist in reducing youth violence.

Beginning in the 2007/2008 biennium, the Tacoma City Council allocated over $750,000 to the City’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. The initiative identified middle-school aged youth with risk factors related to violent behaviors and poor school performance, and sought to reduce their risk for potential violence and involvement in criminal behavior. Building on a May 2007 survey of evidence-based programs (EBP) for youth conducted by the Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department, the City implemented two EBPs – Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Aggression Replacement Training (ART), and added a third program the Tacoma Urban League’s Male Involvement Project (MIP) a promising program with ethnic minority youth.

Since the 2007-2008 school year, a total of 392 youth have been referred to one of the three prevention programs – 69 percent to ART (Aggression Replacement Training), 27 percent to the MIP (Male Involvement Program), and 4 percent to FFT (Functional Family Therapy). Key outcomes to date from the project include:

1. Improvement in youth attitudes about conflict, understanding of how to respond in possible conflict situations, and declines in the frequency of aggressive behaviors among ART participants.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

2. Decreases in reported disruptive school behaviors for youth across all three interventions.

3. Low percentage of youth with any involvement in the criminal justice system after starting in the project.

On the basis of ongoing program evaluation, the City continues to this day its support of the MIP program as a community-based prevention approach, while the Pierce County Juvenile Court continues to offer support for FFT and ART for youth, based on the level of support identified as needed through individualized assessment.

Additional EBPs that are being implemented by community-based organizations in Tacoma include, but are not limited to: Life Skills Training, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Seattle Social Development Project, Strengthening Families Program for Parents, and Brief Strategic Family Therapy.

The Tacoma Police Department also has a role in prevention and intervention, through assignment of five officers and one sergeant to provide School Resource Officer (SRO) presence in the City’s high schools. These officers build relationships between schools, the police and the juvenile justice system, increase security in the schools, and reach out to youth At-Risk of gang involvement for prevention and intervention. SROs are instrumental in delivering the GREAT (Gang Resistance Education and Training) curriculum in the Tacoma Public Schools, an evidence-based gang prevention practice. The Puyallup Tribal Police Department also offers the GREAT curriculum at Chief Leschi School

Suppression: The Tacoma Police Department’s emphasis on gang violence in the City began in the late 1980s, in the City’s Hilltop area. With a coordinated effort Tacoma residents saw a decrease in gang related crimes. In 2006, Tacoma saw another sharp increase in gang activity. In response to the increase the suppression approach taken by Tacoma’s Police Department has been effective in reducing gang- related incidents.

The suppression effort has been building a partnership with the Puyallup Tribal Police Department’s Gang Task Force, other Tribal Police Departments and joining the Pierce County Regional Gang Emphasis Task Force. With the building of relationships and cooperation among local law enforcement a gang intelligence procedure, graffiti abatement and other suppression methods are coordinated and shared at monthly meetings.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Tacoma Police Department also has curfew and truancy initiatives to assist them in their identification, education and suppression efforts. Through these initiatives, officers identify youth who are violating curfew and truancy laws and can bring them to social services; which can reconnect them with family and provide information for services necessary; rather then immediately turn them into the Juvenile Judiciary system. The Tacoma Police Department Gang Unit is also actively involved with community outreach and education, providing workshops on how to recognize gang clothing, signs and indicators of gang involvement. In addition to learning to recognize the difference between gang involvement and the desire to be part of the latest fashion trend, dance, popular trend etc.

As has been proven, suppression is a costly undertaking, since it incurs law enforcement, court system and correctional costs. In addition suppression in and of itself does not interrupt the cycle of gang activity. When youth convicted of gang-related crime are sentenced to youth detention facilities, and then return as adults to the community, they usually model gang behavior to another generation; as that is what they were exposed to while incarcerated.

2.2 Tacoma Gang Project Beginnings At a Tacoma Council Study Session on May 11, 2010, the Council finalized their priorities for 2010 – 2012. The number one priority under Public Safety was to “Reduce youth gang involvement and gang- related crime”. In the spring of 2010, staff of the Tacoma Police Department contacted the National Gang Center for technical assistance in addressing gang problems that data demonstrated was on the

rise over the past several years.

complete a Comprehensive Gang Assessment, following guidance provided via technical assistance from

the National Gang Center and following the template provided in the OJJDP publication, Assessing Your

Community’s Youth Gang Problem.

were formed to lead and facilitate the assessment process. The Council has demonstrated commitment to implementing a comprehensive strategy to address gangs by authorizing the expenditure of funds for data collection and analysis.

In November 2010, the City Council authorized the funding to

An Executive Steering Committee and an Internal Strategic Team

In January, 2011, the Community Steering Committee; which engages a broad cross-section of community-based organizations and neighborhood/community groups, was formed. In February 2011, the City issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) seeking a consulting analyst (research partner) for the

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Assessment. The Tacoma City Council continues to demonstrate their commitment to addressing gangs and gang activity. In their February 25, 2012 Council, they identified, “Develop and maintain healthy neighborhoods and families, including maintaining and evaluating Community Based Services” and “Build City and community support for youth success”, as their 5 th and 6 th highest city-wide priorities (Of 12 identified priorities) for the upcoming 2012-2013 years.

2.3 The OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model In response to this increased gang activity across the United States, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) developed a catalogue of evidence based programs, best practices and tools that focus on and address the issues of vulnerable youth and gang involvement. One such program is the Comprehensive Gang Model. After examining multiple approaches to gang activity, the city of Tacoma and the Executive Steering Committee determined that the OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model would provide Tacoma with a flexible framework of strategies that could be implemented to fit local problems as it is a data-driven framework that will allow Tacoma to highlight and research their particular issues and strategies with a best practice solution.

The OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model was developed by Dr. Irving Spergel from the University of Chicago beginning in the late 1980s. After conducting an extensive review of gang strategies and

evaluations around the U.S., Dr. Spergel concluded that single-strategy (prevention, intervention, social services and suppression) approaches had demonstrated little or no success with gang issues in communities around the U.S. and in some cases actually increased gang activity and crime. He and his peers developed a multi-strategy approach to gangs that focuses on five integrated strategies that, when implemented concurrently, can reduce gang-related crime and violence. 4 These strategies include:

1. Community mobilization: Involvement of local citizens, including former gang youth, community groups and agencies, and the coordination of programs and staff functions within and across agencies.

2. Opportunities provision: The development of a variety of specific education, training, and employment programs targeted at gang-involved youth.

3. Social intervention: Youth-serving agencies, schools, grassroots groups, faith-based organizations, police agencies, and other criminal justice organizations reaching out and acting as links to gang-involved youth, their families, and the conventional world and needed services.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

4.

Suppression: Formal and informal social control procedures, including close supervision or monitoring of gang youth by agencies of the criminal justice system and by community-based agencies, schools, and grassroots groups.

5.

Organizational change and development: Development and implementation of policies and procedures that result in the most effective use of available and potential resources, within and across agencies, to better address the gang problem. 5

2.4 Purpose of this Assessment

This assessment is designed to provide the most accurate, up-to-date snapshot of the demographic, economic, legal and education environments to enable Tacoma’s leaders and residents to better choose the best practices under Dr. Spergel’s model.

Assessing Your Community’s Youth Gang Problem advises targeting a smaller area of the city where gang activity is most prevalent, but the City of Tacoma decided to conduct a city-wide assessment. This decision was met with overwhelming support from the community at large as well as law enforcement, education and other government and private stakeholders. In an effort to facilitate the collection of geospatial information while ensuring the privacy of all who have assisted with this effort, the Internal Strategic Team elected to collect, analyze, and report community demographic data at the neighborhood level. For the purposes of the assessment, Tacoma was divided into eight major neighborhoods: The East Side, Northeast Tacoma, The West End, The North End, South Tacoma, The South End, Central Tacoma and New Tacoma.

2.5 Assessment Goals and Objectives

The goals of conducting this Comprehensive Gang Assessment are:

1. To gather statistical information regarding the extent of gang crime and violence in Tacoma

to include who is committing these crimes and where they are occurring in the community.

2. To understand how gangs impact local neighborhoods, schools, families and the community as a whole.

3. To identify factors that are connected to youth joining gangs and committing gang crime/violence in Tacoma.

4. To identify resources or services that are available and/or needed to reduce the impact of gang activity.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Supporting objectives include:

1. Identify the top indicators (e.g. truancy) that are predictors for gang activity later in life and identify the top risk factors facing Tacoma youth.

2. Identify potential factors contributing to gang problems, including gang activity and gang joining.

3. Identify target populations for prevention, intervention and suppression efforts.

4. Identify the most serious and prevalent gang-related problems, where they exist, and what communities they affect.

5. Identify and prioritize various organizational or systems issues that must be addressed to have long-term effect on the problem.

6. Identify current efforts from government, community groups, non-profit organizations, private groups, and other organizations that address gangs and gang-involved youth.

7. Identify local community groups, organizations, non-profits, and other organizations that can help attract additional expertise, support or funding for the implementation of this project.

8. Increase the ability of the City and its partners to address disproportionate minority contact (DMC) to determine if there is a correlation between DMC and gang activity in Tacoma.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

SECTION 3. Key Findings

The Tacoma Gang Project’s Executive Steering Committee reviewed the data presented in this assessment and developed the Key Findings discussed in this section. The findings presented here represent the four main themes that repeatedly surfaced across several sets of the data collected. The findings range from identifying target communities impacted by gangs to recognizing systems that need additional support.

Key Finding Number 1:

Gang activity and the risk of gang involvement by youth is not spread uniformly in the city of Tacoma. Five neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by gangs, gang crime and high levels of related risk factors. These neighborhoods are: South Tacoma, South End, Eastside, Central, and New Tacoma.

Young people growing up in these neighborhoods are exposed to clusters of risk factors that may make them more susceptible to joining a gang. These areas are notable for higher-than-average levels of poverty and unemployment, lower levels of high school completion by adults, and lower school performance by youth. Additionally, these neighborhoods are disproportionately impacted by the presence of gangs and gang-involved crime. Many young people in these neighborhoods are exposed to multiple risk factors specific to gang involvement, including:

Neighborhood youth in trouble

High criminal activity

The five neighborhoods identified are impacted at much higher levels by gang-involved crime and violence, leading to increased risk for youth who reside in these neighborhoods.

The figure below shows the 2227 offenses which include crimes against persons, property and society that were documented as Gang-Involved for the time period of January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011. These incidents include domestic violence related crimes.

Tacoma Gang Assessm ent

2011

Figure 17. Gang-Involv ed Offenses (January – December, Including DV Re lated)

2009 2010 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Central Eastside New Tacoma North East
2009
2010
300
250
200
150
100
50
0
Central
Eastside
New Tacoma
North East
North End
South End
South Tacom a
West End

These neighborhoods are affected

success of young people, as well as extremely low rates of high school completion on t he part of the adults in the community. It is no ac ccident that poorly performing schools are located i n areas where

adults failed to complete high their high school diploma.

by significant risk factors/social stressors that may c hallenge the

Truancy/suspe nsion/ expulsions/dropout

Low academic aspirations

Disorganized/d isadvantaged neighborhood/community

Concentrated

poverty

Figures 2, 3 & 4:

isadvantaged neighborhood/community • Concentrated poverty Figures 2, 3 & 4: Page 20 of 364

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

For those who are admittedly Gang-Involved, the number one reason given for joining a gang in the first

place was money (Table 48).

Table 48. Reasons why Admittedly Gang-Involved Individuals joined gangs

   

Gang-Involved

N=47

%

REASONS: Why did you join a gang? Top three reasons for joining:

For money

 

25

53%

A Friend was in the gang

 

23

49%

A Family member was in the gang

 

23

49%

Other major risk factors for gang activity include:

Poor school attitude/performance/academic achievement/math score

Poorly organized/functioning schools/ inadequate school climate

Neighborhood youth in trouble

Students in these neighborhoods are more likely to perform poorly in school and to

be involved in acts of violence at school (or exposed to them).

Table 29 below shows School Attainment and Behavior Incidents by School Location 6 (only schools in the

5 impacted neighborhoods are shown). The information highlighted in the table below indicates that

the schools where indicated, there are at least 1 in 5 youth involved in violent incidents at school.

Table 29.

% Students

% Students

       

Attaining

Attaining Math

Free/

2010

2010

Violent

Reading

Standards

Reduced

Behavioral

Violent

Incidents Per

School

Standards 2011

2010/2011

Lunch

Incidents

Incidents

Capita

Middle Schools

Baker

50.3

33.5

72%

408

52

.09

First Creek

28.9

11.9

90%

411

165

.21

Giaudrone

64.1

39.4

72%

407

150

.26

Gray

49.7

19.7

78%

721

159

.24

Jason Lee

49.0

37.7

82%

325

138

.29

Stewart

47.1

25.2

75%

761

121

.22

High Schools

Foss

72.1

25.1

66%

1093

236

.21

Lincoln

65.5

18.7

74%

1365

254

.17

Mt. Tahoma

73.4

19.8

66%

1491

238

.15

Oakland Alt

63.2

9.3

71%

1213

203

.75

Stadium

83.5

39.8

30%

760

121

.07

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Compared to other youth in Washington, Tacoma young people report higher levels of use of both marijuana and alcohol, easier access to marijuana and alcohol, and lower levels of adult disapproval of marijuana use. In 2010 there were 1,955 enrolled 8 th grade students and 1,743 enrolled 12 th grade students.

Table 34. Tacoma Public Schools - Healthy Youth Survey (2010)

 
 

Tacoma

Washington 8 th Graders

Tacoma

Washington 12 th Graders

8 th Graders*

12 th Graders*

Used marijuana in the past 30 days

13%

9%

28%

26%

Drunk or high at school in the past year

11%

8%

22%

19%

Member of a gang

8%

6%

6%

5%

Low neighborhood attachment

40%

33%

50%

50%

Adults in my neighborhood think youth marijuana use is very wrong

59%

69%

36%

41%

Alcohol would be hard to get

38%

43%

14%

11%

Marijuana would be hard to get

51%

63%

16%

17%

* With the following numbers of students participating, 1484 (76%) of Grade 6 students 1561 (80%) of Grade 8 students, 1432 (55%) of Grade 10 students, 1123 (69%) of Grade 12 students

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Key Finding Number 2:

Involvement in gangs facilitates access to weapons and drugs, leading to high levels of gang member

involvement in weapons offenses, drive-by shootings, aggravated assaults, and drug offenses.

According to police incident reports, gang member involvement is the highest in the categories of both

violent and drug-related crimes.

Table 19. Reported Gang Crimes

2009

2010

2011

 

(Jan 1 – Jun 30)

 

Gang-

% of

Gang-

% of

Gang-

% of

Involved 7

Offense

Involved 8

Offense

Involved 8

Offense

Offense

Total 8

Total 9

Total 9

Assault Aggravated

95

6.5%

77

9.0%

29

7.3%

Assault Intimidation

33

2.7%

16

4.5%

11

9.6%

Assault Simple

146

2.1%

146

5.2%

74

5.4%

Burglary Non

6

0.7%

13

1.6%

2

0.6%

Burglary Res

69

2.9%

51

2.5%

25

3.2%

Destruction/Damage/Vandalism of Property

151

1.3%

147

2.4%

82

3.3%

Drug/Narcotic Equipment

32

7.7%

34

6.7%

8

4.8%

Drug/Narcotic Violations

137

14.2%

110

10.6%

36

8.8%

Extortion/Blackmail

3

10.5%

0

0.0%

1

14.3%

Homicide

3

37.5%

1

7.7%

0

0.0%

Kidnapping/Abduction

2

3.8%

2

5.3%

1

5.0%

Larceny/Theft

95

0.8%

106

1.3%

35

1.0%

Motor Vehicle Theft

24

1.4%

21

1.2%

12

1.6%

Prostitution

3

3.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Prostitution (Assisting or Promoting)

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Robbery

44

6.6%

48

9.4%

12

5.9%

Sex Offenses, Forcible

8

2.9%

6

2.2%

3

2.3%

Stolen Property

26

11.4%

33

14.5%

11

14.3%

Weapon Law Violation - Carrying Concealed

3

21.4%

3

18.8%

0

0.0%

Weapon Law Violation - Carrying Prohibited

11

18.3%

5

13.9%

2

11.8%

Weapon Law Violation – Explosive

3

15.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Weapon Law Violation - Firing Weapon/Drive-by

19

21.1%

9

16.4%

6

26.1%

Weapon Law Violation - Unlawful Possession

57

24.9%

55

23.9%

24

29.3%

Total

970

883

374

FOOTNOTES/ENDNOTES FOR THIS REPORT ARE LOCATED IN APPENDIX 5

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Interviews conducted with self-admitted gang members also suggest that gang involvement increases an individual’s access to both handguns and drugs in Tacoma. An overwhelming majority of gang members stated that it would be either very easy or somewhat easy to get access to a handgun (75%) or drugs (76%). Individuals who were identified as at-risk of gang involvement also reported somewhat high levels of access to both guns (52%) and drugs (64%).

Table 60. Access to Handguns

 
 

Gang-Involved

At-Risk

 

N=47

%

N=94

%

How easy would it be for you to get a handgun if you wanted one?

 

Very hard

0

0%

6

 

6%

Somewhat hard

0

0%

4

 

4%

Somewhat easy

12

26%

18

 

19%

Very easy

23

49%

31

 

33%

Don't know

2

4%

23

 

24%

No Response

10

21%

12

 

13%

Table 61. Access to Drugs

 

Gang-Involved

At-Risk

 

N=47

%

N=94

%

How easy would it be for you to get drugs if you wanted them?

 

Very hard

0

0%

5

 

5%

Somewhat hard

0

0%

0

 

0%

Somewhat easy

2

4%

17

 

18%

Very easy

34

72%

43

 

46%

Don't know

1

2%

13

 

14%

No Response

10

21%

16

 

17%

Community residents, parents and leaders also stated that drugs and fear for safety were major concerns caused by gangs in Tacoma.

Table 36. Community Perceptions of the top problems caused by gangs

 

RESIDENT

%

PARENT

%

LEADER

%

PROBLEMS: Please pick the top three problems, if any, that gangs present in your neighborhood:

 

Increase in drug crimes

56.2%

Increase in vandalism/graffiti

66.7%

Increase in drug crimes

59.4%

Increased fear for safety

50.3%

Increase in drug crimes

54.5%

Increased fear in community

57.8%

Public nuisance

42.7%

Increase in property crimes

54.5%

Increased fear for safety

53.1%

Increase in violent crime

32.9%

Public nuisance

51.5%

Increase in vandalism/graffiti

48.4%

Increase in weapon crimes

23.7%

Increased fear in community

51.5%

Increase in property crimes

46.9%

Fighting

20.1%

Increase in violent crime against persons

45.5%

Increase in violent crime against persons

45.3%

Family disruption

15.2%

Increased fear for safety

45.5%

School disruption

35.9%

Other (please specify)

14.1%

Increase in weapon crimes

36.4%

Increase in weapon crimes

31.3%

School disruption

9.2%

School disruption

36.4%

Public nuisance

29.7%

Gangs are not a problem here

7.2%

Family disruption

27.3%

Family disruption

29.7%

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Other (please specify) 9.1% Other (please specify) 10.9%
Other (please specify) 9.1% Other (please specify) 10.9%

Other (please specify)

9.1%

Other (please specify)

10.9%

Key Finding Number 3:

Middle school is a critical time period for youth in Tacoma, when they are exposed to elevated levels of risk and are making decisions about joining a gang.

The 2010 Healthy Youth Student Survey, administered to all students in the 6 th , 8 th , 10 th , and 12 th grades shows that Tacoma students, particularly those in middle school, experience elevated levels of risk factors for gang involvement which are significantly higher than those of other Washington students in these grades. In particular, Tacoma 8 th graders are 33% more likely than other students in Washington to claim gang affiliation (8% of Tacoma 8 th graders self-reported gang membership on the Healthy Youth Survey).

Table 34. Tacoma Public Schools - Healthy Youth Survey (2010)

 
 

Tacoma

Washington 8 th Graders

Tacoma

Washington 12 th Graders

8 th Graders*

12 th Graders*

Used marijuana in the past 30 days

13%

9%

28%

26%

Drunk or high at school in the past year

11%

8%

22%

19%

Skipped 1 or more days of school in the past 4 weeks

21%

19%

31%

27%

Was bullied in the past 30 days

31%

30%

15%

17%

Feel safe at school

77%

83%

83%

88%

Carried a weapon on school property in the past 30 days

5%

5%

5%

7%

Been in a fight last year

37%

34%

21%

20%

Member of a gang

8%

6%

6%

5%

Low neighborhood attachment

40%

33%

50%

50%

Experienced depression in the past year

30%

25%

32%

28%

Considered suicide in the past year

19%

14%

17%

14%

Adults in my neighborhood think youth marijuana use is very wrong

59%

69%

36%

41%

Alcohol would be hard to get

38%

43%

14%

11%

Marijuana would be hard to get

51%

63%

16%

17%

* With the following numbers of students participating, 1484 (76%) of Grade 6 students 1561 (80%) of Grade 8 students, 1432 (55%) of Grade 10 students, 1123 (69%) of Grade 12 students

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

During interviews conducted with self-admitted gang members in Tacoma, 49% of these individuals

reported joining a gang before age 15, and over one third made this decision during middle school.

Table 46. Gang-Involved Individuals Age at time of Joining Gang

 

Gang-Involved

N=47

%

Age Joined Gang

 

Under 12

7

15%

12

to 14

16

34%

15

to 17

12

26%

18

to 20

2

4%

21

to 25

0

0%

26

to 30

0

0%

Over 30

0

0%

Unknown

10

21%

Middle school personnel are also the most likely, of all grade levels in Tacoma Public Schools, to report

that gang activity is increasing (34.6%).

Table 33. 2010-2011 Tacoma School District Faculty & Staff Perceptions

 

Elementary

Middle School

High School

N= 319

N= 130

N= 171

Do you think Gangs are a problem in your school?

 

Yes

12.9%

26.2%

31.0%

No

73.7%

57.7%

52.0%

Unsure

13.4%

16.1%

17.0%

Do you think gang activity is increasing, decreasing or staying the same at your school?

Increasing

28.3%

34.6%

24.4%

Decreasing

7.8%

19.2%

26.8%

Stay the Same

17.4%

20.0%

25.0%

Unsure

46.5%

26.2%

23.8%

Per capita, Tacoma’s middle school students are also the most likely to be involved in or experience a

violent incident at school. In fact, the per capita volume of violent incidents at several middle schools is

almost double the level of several of Tacoma’s high schools.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Table 29. School Attainment and Behavior Incidents by School Location (all Tacoma middle and high

schools shown)

 

2010

2010

Violent

Behavioral

Violent

Incidents

School

Incidents

Incidents

Per Capita

Tacoma Middle Schools

 

Baker

408

52

.09

First Creek

411

165

.21

Giaudrone

407

150

.26

Gray

721

159

.24

Jason Lee

325

138

.29

Mason

276

59

.07

Meeker

151

43

.06

Stewart

761

121

.22

Truman

641

107

.14

Tacoma High Schools

 

Foss

1093

236

.21

Lincoln

1365

254

.17

Mt. Tahoma

1491

238

.15

Oakland Alt

1213

203

.75

Stadium

760

121

.07

Wilson

1028

154

.11

Key Finding Number 4:

Gaps in information/data collection in regards to gangs have affected Tacoma’s ability to understand

and significantly impact or create a comprehensive system to address gang activity.

Data collection limitations appear to have resulted in demographic discrepancies. Tacoma Police

Department officials note that the number of identified gang members in the intelligence database, and

the number of incident reports currently flagged as gang-involved do not represent the actual numbers

of gang members and gang-involved crime in Tacoma. Current systems are not adequately capturing

this information.

2,227 incidents were flagged in the police incident report system by TPD officers as gang-involved.

These crimes represent relatively small numbers of total, but are suspected to be inaccurate. For

instance, only 34 of 145 drive-by shootings that occurred in Tacoma from January 2009 to June 2011,

During the 30 months between January 1, 2009, and June 30, 2011, approximately

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

were flagged as gang-involved. However, police officials in Tacoma note that drive-by shootings are a

signature crime of gangs in Tacoma, and that it is likely that up to 100% of these crimes were committed

by gang members.

Table 19. Reported Gang Crime

2009

 

2010

2011

 

(Jan 1 – Jun 30)

 

Gang-

% of

Gang-

% of Offense Total 9

Gang-

% of

Involved 8

Offense

Involved 8

Involved 8

Offense

Offense

Total 9

 

Total 9

Assault Aggravated

95

6.5%

77

9.0%

29

7.3%

Assault Intimidation

33

2.7%

16

4.5%

11

9.6%

Assault Simple

146

2.1%

146

5.2%

74

5.4%

Burglary Non

6

0.7%

13

1.6%

2

0.6%

Burglary Res

69

2.9%

51

2.5%

25

3.2%

Destruction/Damage/Vandalism of Property

151

1.3%

147

2.4%

82

3.3%

Drug/Narcotic Equipment

32

7.7%

34

6.7%

8

4.8%

Drug/Narcotic Violations

137

14.2%

110

10.6%

36

8.8%

Extortion/Blackmail

3

10.5%

0

0.0%

1

14.3%

Homicide

3

37.5%

1

7.7%

0

0.0%

Kidnapping/Abduction

2

3.8%

2

5.3%

1

5.0%

Larceny/Theft

95

0.8%

106

1.3%

35

1.0%

Motor Vehicle Theft

24

1.4%

21

1.2%

12

1.6%

Prostitution

3

3.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Prostitution (Assisting or Promoting)

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Robbery

44

6.6%

48

9.4%

12

5.9%

Sex Offenses, Forcible

8

2.9%

6

2.2%

3

2.3%

Stolen Property

26

11.4%

33

14.5%

11

14.3%

Weapon Law Violation - Carrying Concealed

3

21.4%

3

18.8%

0

0.0%

Weapon Law Violation - Carrying Prohibited

11

18.3%

5

13.9%

2

11.8%

Weapon Law Violation - Explosive

3

15.0%

0

0.0%

0

0.0%

Weapon Law Violation - Firing Weapon/Drive-by

19

21.1%

9

16.4%

6

26.1%

Weapon Law Violation - Unlawful Possession

57

24.9%

55

23.9%

24

29.3%

Total

 

970

 

883

374

The total number of identified gang members in the city of Tacoma is 651. Tacoma Police Department

notes that, for a variety of reasons, this number is likely far below the actual number.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Table 10. Tacoma Gangs by Number of Associates and Members n=651 (non-distinct, or duplicated)

Gang

Associates

Members

Total

Bloods

34

80

114

Crips

118

217

335

Nortenos

0

5

5

Other

13

76

89

Surenos

52

56

108

Total

217

434

651

In comparing the data from Tables 14 (Gang Intelligence) and Table 22 (Gang Incidents), along with Figure 6 (City of Tacoma & Gang Member Racial Demographics), it appears that individuals who have been identified as gang members by Tacoma Police Department are older and more likely to be from minority populations than those individuals who are identified as suspects in gang-involved crimes or the overall population of Tacoma:

in gang-involved crimes or the overall population of Tacoma: Figure 6. City of Tacoma & Gang

Figure 6. City of Tacoma & Gang Member Racial Demographics

2010 Census Racial/Ethnic Demographics American Indian and Alaska Native Asian alone Black Hispanic/Latino Native
2010 Census Racial/Ethnic
Demographics
American
Indian and
Alaska Native
Asian alone
Black
Hispanic/Latino
Native
Hawaiian and
Other Pacific
Islander
Racial Demographics of Identified Gang Members and Associates American Indian/Alaskan Native Asian/Pacific Islander
Racial Demographics of Identified
Gang Members and Associates
American
Indian/Alaskan
Native
Asian/Pacific
Islander
Black
Unknown
White (includes
Hispanic)

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

In addition to gaps in law enforcement data, personnel in other Tacoma agencies and community residents/leaders acknowledge a lack of information and knowledge about gangs. During surveys conducted with personnel from the Tacoma Public Schools, many school personnel were not able to respond to questions about gang activity in their school.

Table 33. 2010-2011 Tacoma School District Faculty & Staff Perceptions

 

Elementary

Middle School

High School

N= 319

N= 130

N= 171

Do you think Gangs are a problem in your school?

 

Yes

12.9%

26.2%

31.0%

No

73.7%

57.7%

52.0%

Unsure

13.4%

16.1%

17.0%

Do you think gang activity is increasing, decreasing or staying the same at your school?

Increasing

28.3%

34.6%

24.4%

Decreasing

7.8%

19.2%

26.8%

Stay the Same

17.4%

20.0%

25.0%

Unsure

46.5%

26.2%

23.8%

Tacoma Police Department data suggests that 10.3% of the crime committed by offenders ages 12-14 is gang-involved. Tacoma elementary school data shows that 382 elementary students that were responsible for 974 behavior incident reports (an average of 2.5 incidents per student). However, Tacoma presently lacks a system by which youths involved in low-level gang activities and experiencing behavior problems at school can be directed to intervention services.

In observations by members of the Executive Steering Committee, these gaps have been created due to multiple factors, to include a reluctance on the part of local agency personnel to “label” individuals as gang members, lack of training on gang identifiers and activities, lack of a centralized database for collecting and sharing information, inconsistent data collection terminology across systems, inconsistent use of data collection tools currently in place, and lack of a centralized data collection system which addresses the availability and effectiveness of community programs in the areas of gang prevention, intervention and suppression.

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

SECTION 4. Data Sets:

SECTION 4.1 Community Description

The City of Tacoma is located at the southern border of Puget Sound in Western Washington State. Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and is the county seat for Pierce County, Washington. Tacoma is the third largest city in the state and covers approximately 49.72 9 square miles. Tacoma serves as the center of business activity for the South Sound region that has a population of around 1 million people. With a total population of 198,397, Tacoma has experienced a low level of growth since 2000 (+2.5%) 10 , which is in marked comparison to the state of Washington’s more rapid growth (+14.4%) 11 . The average resident of Tacoma is slightly older than both the U.S. and Washington averages, and family sizes are slightly smaller (2.39 persons per household). Tacoma is both more racially diverse and poorer, on average, than either Washington or the U.S. averages.

In terms of racial/ethnic diversity, Tacoma’s demographics are much closer to those of the U.S. than

Washington’s, with higher than average populations of African Americans (blacks), Hispanics, Asians,

Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.

and 17.7% of residents speak another language other than English at home. Tacoma’s rate of poverty is 31% higher than the state average and 17% higher than the national average; Tacoma’s median income

is lower than the state (-21%) and federal (-7%) averages.

than average, and fewer Tacoma residents own their own homes (54.4% compared to 65.3% statewide). Tacoma’s rate of high school graduation (86.8%) is higher than the national average (84.6%), and Tacoma’s unemployment rate is slightly lower than the state and national averages. 12

Approximately 12.4% of Tacoma residents were foreign born,

Tacoma’s transiency rate is slightly higher

Tacoma Gang Assessment

2011

Table 1. Overview of Tacoma’s Demographic Information

 
 

Tacoma

Washington

U.S.

Total population (2010)

198,397

6,724,540

 

Total population (2000)

193,556

5,894,121

 

Rate of growth

2.5%

14.4%

 

Persons under 18

23.0%

23.5%

24.00%

Persons per household

2.39

2.52

2.6

Racial/ethnic demographics

     

White (non-Hispanic)

60.5%

72.5%

63.7%

Black

11.2%

3.6%

12.6%

Hispanic/Latino

11.3%

11.2%

16.3%

American Indian and Alaska Native

1.8%

1.5%

0.9%

Asian alone

8.2%

7.2%

4.8%

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander

1.2%

0.6%

0.2%

Two or more races

8.1%

4.7%

2.9%

Foreign born persons

12.4%

12.1%

12.4%

Language spoken at home other than English

17.7%

16.5%

19.6%

Poverty

     

People of all ages in poverty

17.1%

11.8%

14.3%

Median household income

$46,645

$56,384

$50,221

Transiency Rate

     

Living in same house 1 year or more

77.5%

81.1%

83.8%

Homeownership rate

54.4%

65.3%

66.9%

Education/Employment

     

High school graduate

86.8%