A September article in The Seattle Times pointed out the disturbing upswing in gang violence recently in Seattle and across the country. The article reports that the number of gang-related assaults and cases investigated by the Seattle Police Department’s gang unit has already surpassed the number of cases for all of last year. In the Seattle area alone, there are estimated to be 30 to 60 street gangs.
Of the 101 cases referred to Seattle gang detectives this year, 34 were aggravated assaults — a criminal category that includes shootings, knifings, beatings and brandishing of weapons. Drive-by shootings accounted for 19 of the 34 aggravated assault cases.
According to police and gang experts, a combination of factors seems to be fueling the escalation in gang-related crime: increasing criminal sophistication, demand for drugs, demographics, migration patterns and generational conflicts play roles in the violence.