Part 2 of 3
Gangs can be associated with locations. The Roswell basic gangs include Eastside, Westside, Northside, Southside and CTR (Crazy Town Roswell). “You can only join CRT after going to prison,” said the Chaves County Gang Task Force agent.
The criminologist who had made a long-term study has seen some changes in local gang activity. “Although there are self-admitted tattoos associated with specific gangs, there’s a new trend to remain unmarked so the gang members do not call attention to themselves. Nowadays they’re not getting tattoos.”
He also included an expanded list of the gangs including a new one. “They are called the Jungallos. These kids are found mainly at Goddard High School and appear “outwardly” normal. These are the children of some of the most affluent members of Roswell, but mom and dad don’t want to know.”
The list, according to the criminologist, consists of: Brown Pride; Northside local; Northside Mafia, for the 12 to 21 age group; Northside XIV for an older age group; Eastside San Jose; Eastside Chihuahuito; Eastside VBV, or Vatos; Westside 19; Westside UGC (Underground Clique); Southside or Suranos; Crazy Town Roswell and the Jungallos.
The locations represented by the names may not suggest the gang member’s residence. The agent pointed out that a member from the Eastside gang may in fact live in another part of the city.
Gangs can also be a family affair. Tamara Marcantel with New Mexico State Gang Task Force said, “We have known for a long time that gang membership is generational. You will have three or four generations within the same family who live in the same community who join gangs since they are growing up in that type of environment.”
The local agent also acknowledged that gang membership in Roswell is often multi-generational with children, parents and grandparents all belonging to the same gang. When asked why parents would want this for their children, he said, “It’s a different lifestyle than what you and I live.”
The criminologist agreed that gang membership follow family lines, but he said he could not explain the philosophy where parents encourage their children to become involved with gangs.
The criminologist said, “For the young, though, it comes to the matter of respect. When I was growing up, we had fist fights usually after school if we had a dispute; but now respect is found at the end of a gun.”
The criminologist mentioned an increase in gang members going into the military specifically for the combat training. He said they no longer rely on handguns. “They are now arming themselves with AK47 assault rifles.”
He noted another class of people from military who are returning from Iraq with PTSD. “They are alienated from society and joining gangs for the sense of belonging. These are the ones most likely to hit you and me.”