Minnesota Adopts New Gang Criteria; Goal to Reduce Violent Crime

By KBJR News 1

Minnesota Adopts New Gang Criteria; Goal to Reduce Violent Crime

October 25, 2012 Updated Oct 25, 2012 at 12:09 PM CDT

St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- Minnesota's Violent Crime Coordinating Council (VCCC) has adopted a new set of gang criteria in hopes of keeping the public safe and reduce violent crimes in the state.

The new nine-point set of gang criteria outlines the ways law enforcement officials identify and track gang members in Minnesota.

“We had a strong consensus among community members and other stakeholders during the development of the criteria," said Ken Reed, St. Paul Police Department Commander and chair of the VCCC. "The outcome was accurate, objective criteria to help law enforcement quickly identify violent criminals.”

One significant change from criteria and characteristics ratified by the Gang and Drug Oversight Council in 2006 is the definition of a “confirmed gang member.” New criteria have been narrowed to include only gang members who have been convicted of a crime of violence as defined by state law.

Officials are recommending that law enforcement agencies start training officers on these new criteria and other related aspects including notifying parents of juveniles who are suspected of gang activity, gang violence prevention, and effective intervention efforts.

The VCCC, which replaced the Gang and Drug Oversight Council, is made up of 19 voting members, including four citizen members and 15 members representing federal, state and local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. The Council provides direction and oversight to multi-jurisdictional narcotics and violent crime task forces located throughout the state.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns