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Crime The Military Technology

Fighting Street Gangs With Military Counter-Insurgency Software 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the one-of-the-tracking-hydra's-new-heads dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After every major war, technology developed for a conflict gets applied to civilian life. The BBC recently reported that Army researchers have adapted advanced social network analysis software used for counter-insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan to help law enforcement analyze the behavior of street gangs. With the growing problem of gang violence in major U.S. cities, this may provide a fresh perspective. 'Orca can figure out the likely affiliations of individuals who will not admit to being members of any specific gang, as well as the sub-structure of gangs – the gang ecosystem – and the identities of those who tend to dictate the behaviour of others. ... Having some knowledge of the links and affiliations between different gangs can highlight dangers that call for more focused policing. If a gang perpetrates some violent action on a rival gang, police will often monitor the rival gang more closely because of the likelihood of retaliation. But gangs know this, and so the rivals might instead ask an allied gang to carry out a reprisal. Understanding such alliances helps the police stay a step ahead.' The question is: will it work?"
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Fighting Street Gangs With Military Counter-Insurgency Software

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  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:53PM (#44232373)
    give them jobs, families and a hope for the future instead of absolute poverty and a 'nothing to lose' life style. But turning military tactics against a sizable portion of our populace works too I guess.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rubycodez (864176)

      bullshit. people who are self-motivated work hard and get those things. Plenty of illiterate minorities have come to this country and made good lives for themselves starting with NOTHING but with hard work, yet we're to feel sorry for life long lazy welfare recipients who spawn more criminals on our dime and who whine "the man is keeping me down?" They have no one to blame but the one in the bathroom mirror

      • by rsilvergun (571051) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:30PM (#44232779)
        And plenty have died horrible deaths in thresher machines. A few outliers doesn't make the average. Most of them live life slaves with no hope for advancement. We remember the ones that made it big, we occasionally read about the ones who were cut to pieces, but we ignore the everyday misery the bulk live in.

        Christ, just look up on google what working in a meat packing plant is like. Or look up that article that says a 'temp' agency is America's second largest employer (Walmart's first). You can fall back on your nonsensical capitalism all you want. Reality doesn't work that way. That's just not what happens in the real world. The real world is a horrible place where everything is stacked against all but a lucky few, who use their privileges to the detriment of the rest of us.
        • by rubycodez (864176)

          outliers??!! fact as example, asian people who immigrate to the USA make more than the median income; they work hard and value education. there are LOTS of them.

          Nothing nonsensical about working for a living, that is reality. Nothing nonsensical for paying for things, that's the reality in socialist and communist and capitalist countries alike.

          Since my relatives are in agriculture (and some raise hogs), I'll have you know I've been in slaughter and meat packing plants and still love bacon and sausage.

          • You do realize that asian people weren't enslaved in the US for a couple hundred years and then until fifty years ago required to use a different bathroom/waterfountain/bus seat/etc., right? Comparing one minority to another without any consideration of their history is, to put it bluntly, pretty fucking stupid.
            • by rubycodez (864176)

              not an excuse, do you see Jewish survivors and descendants of the holocaust in the USA, who were made to do slave labor, acting lazy and on the dole and killing/raping/robbing/murdering each other?

              try again to think up some other lame excuse

      • the problems are

        1 "low cost housing" is also located way the frack away from any jobs worth having
        2 welfare is designed to ensure you can't do legit work (save money to get OFF welfare) and keep your benefits
        3 most jobs programs are either ineffective or amount to FOAD GHETTO PUNK
        4 Education for low income families SUCKS (bad end of Public School )

        heck i would think that if a reasonably decent gang was operating in an area the Police should HIRE THEM (and in a limited way arm them). ---- this makes the gang

        • by Lashat (1041424)

          Really ... arm gangs?

          • arm and train the guys think of it as an extended recruiting effort. The trick is give them access to LEGAL stuff and you will shirnk the market for the illegal stuff. Pick Gangs that are more or less doing what "we" want them to and things should sort out.

        • by rubycodez (864176)

          1. no, low cost housing it located in the cities with the jobs and the means to get to one without a car
          2. cut the welfare off, immoral to take money away from my family and give to strangers. problem solved
          3. funny, had people on jobs programs at some of my employers....they received above min wage pay for work, what's the problem
          4. successful people have come out of those same public school, maybe they read a lot

          as for arming, ha! we already see what they do armed. they are serving organized crime funct

    • give them jobs, families and a hope for the future instead of absolute poverty and a 'nothing to lose' life style.

      Wow, how exactly do you do this? It's an example of something easy to say, but hard if not impossible to implement.

      There might be a way to give them a job, and motivate them to actually take it, but how are you going to give them a family? Re-animation of dead parents? Or were you thinking of something like foster parents? Because we've tried that, and it doesn't solve the problem.

      • I know this one! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Okian Warrior (537106) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @12:22AM (#44234249) Homepage Journal

        give them jobs, families and a hope for the future instead of absolute poverty and a 'nothing to lose' life style.

        Wow, how exactly do you do this? It's an example of something easy to say, but hard if not impossible to implement.

        Ooh... ooh... I know this one! Teacher, pick me!!!

        Start by increasing business opportunities in this country. Businesses start from innovation on infrastructure, so start by improving these.

        A national internet and phone service that's fast and cheap. This is trivial to accomplish, just fix the maximum price that the telcos/providers can charge for usage and mandate that there can be no other restrictions. If you choose the price right, the telcos would make the same amount of money under the new rule... but now to make more profit they have to compete for coverage and price. (No early termination fees, no access fees, no roaming charges, choose provider at the time of phone call.)

        National health care. Healthy people are happier and less likely to revolt, are less likely to turn to crime, are less likely to be bankrupt from health care bills. This is easy to implement - just copy one of the existing better systems, such as Canada or UK.

        Repeal drug laws, get rid of the DEA, put 1/10 the money into education and treatment. (Education and treatment are more effective anyway.) Reduce our prison population by pardoning and/or paroling all non-violent drug offenders. Retroactively downgrade their offense to non-felony, so that they can get jobs. Do this in a graduated way, so as not to raise unemployment.

        Revamp patent and copyright law so that creators can profit from and protect their works by starting businesses.

        Free schooling through advanced degree for citizens (like Finland). An educated population is more likely to be innovative and take advantage of opportunities. Get rid of H1B visas altogether.

        Revamp the tax code so that all businesses pay the same proportional tax with no exceptions. When big corps such as GE pay no taxes it's harder for people to start new businesses. Remove the personal income tax altogether and get revenue from businesses and economic growth (by printing more money, to keep inflation down). Keep inflation a close to zero as possible, so that people can save for big purchases instead of going into debt.

        I could go on, but you get the picture. Government has to stop coddling special interests and start benefiting the general population, or else deal with an angry, armed revolt.

        • That looks like your own personal political wish list, not a way to get gang members families. Don't be like those people for whom "buy gold" is the solution to every economic problem.....
        • it's replacing workers at a fast pace. Sure, it slowed down a little because Chinese slave labor was cheaper than machines for a while. But that's not true anymore. Foxconn is replacing it's workforce with robots. When their done you think those people will be fed and taken care of? We barely let them live now when we've got a use for them...
    • Yeah, when you want to wipe out a gang, you get a bigger gang. Turtles all the way up?

    • Yeah, gangs are partly about violence, but a lot of that is also about money, specifically the money they make selling black-market drugs. Legalize marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, and you've pulled the financial rug out from under them. They'll find better things to do.

  • Better question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:53PM (#44232375)

    The question is: will it work?

    First; No. Technology doesn't fix social problems, it changes them. Take away guns and people use knives. Take away knives and they use big rocks. And so on. It's the same with any technology, for any social behavior. You can't fix relationships with technology, and fundamentally, all social problems can be expressed in relational pairings.

    That said, the better question is -- are we willing to allow the government to change its relationship with us, the citizens, and if so, what will be the new boundaries for such a change? There must be things that are in and out of bounds -- and there needs to be more discussion than is happening now. Otherwise, we're going to wakeup one day and find that we're all wearing the Emperor's clothes, not just with the government, but with each other as well!

    • by sabri (584428)

      Technology doesn't fix social problems, it changes them. Take away guns and people use knives. Take away knives and they use big rocks. And so on. It's the same with any technology, for any social behavior. You can't fix relationships with technology, and fundamentally, all social problems can be expressed in relational pairings.

      That said, the better question is -- are we willing to allow the government to change its relationship with us, the citizens, and if so, what will be the new boundaries for such a change? There must be things that are in and out of bounds -- and there needs to be more discussion than is happening now. Otherwise, we're going to wakeup one day and find that we're all wearing the Emperor's clothes, not just with the government, but with each other as well!

      Mod parent up!

    • That said, the better question is -- are we willing to allow the government to change its relationship with us, the citizens, and if so, what will be the new boundaries for such a change?

      I think that question is in the process of being answered.

      Linchpin for Obama’s plan to predict future leakers unproven [mcclatchydc.com]

      PRUDEN: Obamacare called ‘The fiasco for the ages’ [washingtontimes.com]

    • by jma05 (897351)

      No. Technology does fix social problems. But it also creates new problems. It does not simply change or amplify existing problems. The new social problems that emerge are *fundamentally different* than old problems. Industrialization did solve old problems (Eg: low economic power of women) and the problems it created were of a new kind (Eg: uprooting of cultural communities).

      > Take away guns and people use knives.

      I am aware of all the US gun vendor propaganda. None of the recent single-person perpetrated

      • I am aware of all the US gun vendor propaganda. None of the recent single-person perpetrated mass murders (Colorado, Arizona, Newtown) could have happened with knives. I am in India.

        The murder rate [wikipedia.org] in the United States is 4.8 per 1000. In India, it is 3.5. In Monaco, there were no murders for the entire year recorded. In the Ivory coast, the rate is 56 per 1000. The difference between India and the United States is negligible. You go on at length about "gun vendor propaganda" but the numbers paint a far different picture: Mass murders may make headlines, but just as many people are dying in India as the United States.

        The truth is that the murder rate is based on poverty and civil unres

        • by jma05 (897351)

          First, the murder rates are always counted per 100,000 (see the very first line of the page you cite). I am very familiar with this page and stats.

          > Mass murders may make headlines

          True. Mass murders are a minority of total murders in civil societies. Still, my point is that they are only possible in societies with free access to guns.

          > The truth is that the murder rate is based on poverty and civil unrest

          Correct. *Therefore* I expect homicide rates to be much, much higher in India and China due to the

  • by Pollux (102520) <speter@tCHICAGOedata.net.eg minus city> on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @07:55PM (#44232397) Journal

    Just one more piece of evidence showing how our government is at war with its citizens.

  • by krayl (209847)

    Didn't they already do this on Numbers a few years ago?

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Yes, Numb3rs 10 years ago.
      I loved that show, so much math and Machine Learning. I learned a lot of stuff just because I saw it first in some episode and later hit the library to get more info.

  • one small problem (Score:5, Informative)

    by jfruh (300774) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:12PM (#44232573)

    With the growing problem of gang violence in major U.S. cities...

    This is a friendly reminder that violent crime in the U.S. has dropped every year for the past ten years [psmag.com], and in fact we're at the end of a fairly sustained 20-year drop in crime.

    • Shhh, it's harder to pass gun control laws if people know violent crime is actually on the decline!
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Not really, it's easier to pass those sorts of laws when most people don't feel the need to carry firearms around.

        The general arguments made in favor of people having ready access to firearms tend to be hunting and personal protection. If it's just down to hunting, then it's questionable how long the 2nd amendment is going to last, as hunting isn't nearly the emotional issue that self defense is.

        • Re:one small problem (Score:4, Informative)

          by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @10:02PM (#44233503)

          The second amendment isn't ultimately about hunting. It is about the final defense of the American people against tyranny, whether from home or abroad.

          Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive. --- Noah Webster [wikiquote.org]

          The Swiss have that figured out as well.

          In World War II, the Swiss had defenses no other country had. Let's begin with the rifle in every home combined with the Alpine terrain. When the German Kaiser asked in 1912 what the quarter of a million Swiss militiamen would do if invaded by a half million German soldiers, a Swiss replied: shoot twice and go home. Switzerland also had a decentralized, direct democracy which could not be surrendered to a foreign enemy by a political elite. Some governments surrendered to Hitler without resistance based on the decision of a king or dictator; this was institutionally impossible in Switzerland. If an ordinary Swiss citizen was told that the Federal President--a relatively powerless official--had surrendered the country, the citizen might not even know the president's name, and would have held any "surrender" order in contempt. -- Dr. Stephen P. Halbrook [davekopel.com]

          • Re:one small problem (Score:4, Informative)

            by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @10:35PM (#44233691)

            The 2nd amendment is because we didn't have a standing military at the time, nor did most parts of the US have any law enforcement of note. Having those firearms at that time served a legitimate need.

            Nice to see that you're pretty much completely ignorant of the reasons behind the 2nd amendment.

            • Re:one small problem (Score:5, Informative)

              by cold fjord (826450) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @11:45PM (#44234059)

              The 2nd amendment is because we didn't have a standing military at the time,

              That is false two respect. First, the US Army as a force in being predates the Constitution, which is where the 2nd Amendment is found.

              The U.S. Army as a permanent institution began on 3 June 1784, when the Confederation Congress approved a resolution to establish a regiment of 700 officers and men. Intended as a force to assert federal authority in the Ohio River Valley, the regiment deployed at a string of posts along the Ohio where it functioned as a frontier constabulary during the last years of the Articles of Confederation era.

              Congress adopted this tiny force after the reorganization of the government under the Constitution in 1789. Responding to the outbreak of Indian war in the Old Northwest—and especially to St. Clair's defeat in 1791, the worst setback at Indian hands in the army's history—the government expanded the military establishment to over 5,000 in 1792. Organized as the “American Legion” and commanded by Maj. Gen. Anthony Wayne, the army defeated the northwestern tribes at Fallen Timbers in 1794. During the same year, in response to European threats, the government launched a program of seacoast fortifications and added a corps of artillerists and engineers to build and man them. -- more [answers.com]

              Second, the 2nd Amendment rights were not intended to be time limited.

              II. A Permanent Right [ucla.edu]

              Some people suggest the justification clause provides a built-in expiration date for the right. So long as a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state (or so long as the right to keep and bear arms contributes to a well-regulated militia, or so long as the militia is in fact well-regulated), the argument goes, the people have a right to keep and bear arms; but once the circumstances change and the necessity disappears, so does the right. 12

              This reading seems at odds with the text: The Amendment doesn't say "so long as a militia is necessary"; it says "being necessary." Such a locution usually means the speaker is giving a justification for his command, not limiting its duration. 13 If anything, it might require the courts to operate on the assumption that a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, since that's what the justification clause asserts. 14

              --------

              Having those firearms at that time served a legitimate need.

              They still do. Besides, whether you recognize it or not, if you are an American man you have almost certainly been a part of the militia.

              Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes [house.gov]

              -STATUTE-
              (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
              (b) The classes of the militia are -
              (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
              (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

              --------

              Nice to see that you're pretty much completely ignorant of the reasons behind the 2nd amendment.

              If I have more to learn I don't think you have anything to teach. What you "know" about the matter seems to be wrong.

    • by kualla (2872067)
      Gangs.... I think the 99% are classified as a gang any time they organize to protest.
    • With the growing problem of gang violence in major U.S. cities..... violent crime in the U.S. has dropped every year for the past ten years

      Do you understand that both of these can be true? And that gang violence can be a serious and growing problem, even though violent crime overall has dropped? Perhaps using "military counter-insurgency software" is not the right answer, but gangs are a serious, growing problem, and ignoring them isn't going to solve the problem.

    • Yeah, but is that the wide view? I.E. overall violence has dropped, but gang members specifically are still just as, or more, violent?

  • by stox (131684) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @08:19PM (#44232657) Homepage

    This should be easy.

  • The US military will provide a baseline. Successful "affiliations" (Read: Gangs) Will adapt and overcome. Anywhere from 1 to several to many will develop a "base instinct" and a portion of those will wind up serving our country, in one of the several branches, whether or not they are colored as "Military" because its the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or other Nun-such.

    This isn't stating that the Military and the supporting organizations are "good" or "Bad", it's recognizing that this is a viable recruit

  • by benjfowler (239527) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:10PM (#44233115)

    I have to wonder why people are so anti-government, that they live with the idea that while they themselves make a net contribution to society, there are plenty of people who simply lack the ability to manage their own chaotic lives and make everyone else's lives hell.

    The libertarian conceit of the middle class, is that everyone else is just as clever, motivated, drug-free and mentally healthy as them, and that the useless are somehow "morally inferior" to their betters. Worse, this conceit goes as far as blaming the useless amongst us, saying they deserve to be dead or rot in jail.

    One day, we'll have something between jails (for rehabilitation of criminals) and open society, where people who are too stupid and useless to manage their own chaotic lives can live reasonably well under a highly controlled environment where they can be made to do something useful with their lives and have structure imposed upon them until they can prove that they can properly exercise the rights and responsibilites of citizenship. This may include being compelled to train and work (for pay), and also involve drug rehab, and losing their automatic right to have children.

    The "trash" (as people who say) who spawn kids who join gangs belong in sheltered facilities, not on the street.

  • Next step is to send them drones, first for surveillance, then with weapons. Once accepted, target other groups.
  • by HighOrbit (631451) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @09:21PM (#44233203)
    One of the lessons learned by the military in Iraq was that investigation and interrogation sometimes trumps raw muscle. So the intelligence teams started studying police procedures and thinking like police investigators to establish who was linked to who (in Iraq its usually cousins/tribesmen or people from the same village). They also studied how the French conducted the Battle of Algiers (which the French won despite losing the overall war in Algeria). The French had discovered that figuring out who specifically was running an operation and kicking down his one door was far more effective than randomly kicking down 100 doors . So the French started extensively interrogating (unfortunately with torture) prisoners to figure out who were members of different cells. The French started keeping books of rap-sheets, family trees, organization charts, and mug shots of all suspected insurgents in the city. Once they had a good grasp on a cell's organization, then they merely had to pick them up. The US military learned some of these lessons. For example, if they found finger prints on IED fragments, and the prints matched a guy from the town of Ramadi, then the first place to look for him would be the local house of his cousin who was also originally from Ramadi.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      The international press and French press seemed to know what was been done with post ww2 French torture.
      Like the Germans in ww2 they had a good file system and small numbers of experts per region.
      The French used torture as it was what had worked for the Germans in occupied Europe - it bought the French political system time to 'think'.
      Night raids and black sites work short term but the number of pick ups that become life changing start to add up.
      The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_of_Algiers [wikipedia.org] mo
  • Social network analysis software used for counter-insurgencies sounds like something from Vietnam 2.0 thinking.
    We now really understand the physical and financial drug trail into our country and have the faces for all middle and high ranking professional networks.
    Release the vans for massive dawn raids.
    As the above is been planned, funded, rolled out every corrupt cop, fed, lawyer, journalist and judge is going to be setting up urgent meetings.
    Ideas about voice prints, facial recognition, internet hacki
  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Tuesday July 09, 2013 @10:37PM (#44233699)

    whose targets are citizens rather than government personnel or buildings. Frankly, this is one case where I'd say the use of this technology is appropriate and overdue.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      please don't confuse organized crime with politically motivated terrorism. two entirely different beasts, even if both use terror as a tool.

      partially this is why the war on terror is failing, many of the groups targeted are in fact just organized crime cartels, local mafiosos gathering protection money as a racket - they don't want straight cops around but it's not because they actually hate america.

    • I think you meant to say that:
      The police ARE domestic terrorists, whose targets are citizens rather than government personnel or buildings.
      I'm far more worried about the police shooting me, stealing my stuff, or locking me away, than I am any other group in society.

      There's a war going on, and people like you are traitors. You support the militarization of the police against the citizenry, rather than supporting the citizenry. And for that, you'll be up against the wall when the revolution comes.

      Want to get

      • Wow. Leap to conclusions as your major form of exercise?

        Yes, police can be no better than terrorists. That said, most aren't. Moreover, there's no possibility of having a coherent industrial scale society without policing of some sort.

        If you really think the police are worse than gangs, I suggest you take residence in the Greenspoint or Sharpstown area of Houston for a year or two. Assuming you survive the experience, your opinion of gangs vs. police may end up changing a tad.

        And actually, the biggest gangs

    • by TripleE78 (883800)

      Until it works so successfully that it starts getting used against a wider and wider net of people that are called "gangs" by whoever's currently in power.

      G20 Protestors - Gang.
      Unions - Gang.
      The Catholic Church - Gang.
      Pro or Anti Abortion ralliers - Gang.
      Anonymous - Gang.
      Scientologists - Gang.
      Gay Marriage Activists - Gang.
      Gay Marriage Protestors - Gang.
      Occupy - Gang.
      KKK - Gang.
      Marijuana legalization advocates - Gang.
      Your college alumni network - Gang.
      War Protestors - Gang.
      Westboro Baptist Church - Gang.
      NAAC

      • if it's used for "good" now, it may not be later.

        This argument can be used for everything from kitchen knives to word processing software. It's an algorithm, with no value in and of itself. People will undoubtedly use it for purposes we might see as both good and evil. It's neither desirable nor possible to suppress technology because of it might one day be used in a way some arbitrary authority thinks is undesirable.

        • by TripleE78 (883800)

          I agree with that part. My reservations have more to with "gang" being a nebulous term where laws tend to be concerned, and actual youth street gangs being more of a symptom of a bigger problem than anything else.

          Technological solutions to social problems don't always go so well.

  • So the proposal is to use large scale data mining of "social networks" that actually means the "standard communication methods" of all "gang members".
    And how do you identify "gang members" ? you got it, you do large scale data mining of everybody's communications to find out who the gang members are.

    And since the "experts" are the military, you obviously use the same to do the analysis, and to enforce the "conclusions of the findings".

    So the story goes this way:
    a) make some killjoy conservatives happy by cr

  • by runeghost (2509522) on Wednesday July 10, 2013 @05:01AM (#44235451)
    Will it make our cites as safe and peaceful and Afghanistan and Iraq? Will it be as successful here at creating desired outcomes as it was there?
  • Will it work? Of course it will work! It's been tried and proven by completely solving the Taliban problem in Afghanistan!
  • Not to say I'm 100% for this, or that I don't see potential downsides. Why don't we declare the gangs and cartels the terrorist orginizations they are and go after them with the full force of the NG and the police? Obviously the active duty Military can't be involved here, but the problem is getting so bad that something drastic needs to be done. No one should feel like they need to join a gang to stay safe.
  • I was struck by this particular bit in the summary:

    With the growing problem of gang violence in major U.S. cities...

    Wait a sec. Weren't they saying the Crips and Bloods were a growing problem back in the late 80s/early 90s?
    Funny how the same record gets played over and over. I'd wager the amount of gang violence has remained about the same, and in relation to a growing population i.e. per capita, has actually shrunk.

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