Instead these cities had as mayors Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals or in Baltimore's case----a very, very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and Baltimore Development keeping the economy stagnant. In cities like Baltimore the use of race and class is huge in elections so we need to look towards public justice to bring those two issues from a dominance in politics. I have had on a few occasions had black community leaders ask WHAT DOES BLACK MARKET ECONOMY MEAN since I use this term all the time to describe what is the largest economy in Baltimore under this extreme economic stagnation-----and this black market economy is what keeps Baltimore mired in MOBTOWN/TAMMANY HALL politics and is central in reversing this hold and REALLY addressing oversight and accountability and ending fraud, corruption, and misappropriation.
Black financially, means profit.
The black market, being the illegal market, never had to worry about paying taxes.
Therefore all profit!
In the Black!
Below you see one trace of the word origin for black market----there are several but none of them are tied to RACE or CLASS. It is simply an economy that exists outside of a legal economy and has just as many white rich men as poor black or brown men. The definition of word origin I embrace is the use as meaning RED INK======BLACK INK=====meaning a business is profitable or in the black or it is failing or in the red. When you have no economy ------people will move to create any business that will move them into the BLACK INK.
REMEMBER---IT IS WHAT CANDIDATES DON'T SAY THAT TELLS YOU THEY ARE SIMPLY TALKING THE TALK.
Posted by Lewis on June 19, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Black market posted by James Briggs on June 17, 2003
: : : Do you know the origins of the term black market?
: : BLACK MARKET ? ?as originally used during World War II meant the market in buying and selling stolen military supplies, such as clothing, blankets, food, and truck tires?The term had also seen some use in World War I, when it entered English as a translation of the German ?Schwarzmarkt.?? From ?I Hear America Talking? by Stuart Berg Flexner (Von Nostrand Reinhold Co., New York, 1976). Another source says the phrase got its start in 1931 and meant ?unauthorized dealing in commodities that are rationed or of which the supply is otherwise restricted. After a slow start in the 1930s, mainly in the area of currency dealing, the term really took off in the disrupted economic circumstances of World War II?? From ?20th Century Words: The Story of New Words in English Over the Last 100 Years? by John Ayto (Oxford University Press, New York, 1999).
: The term was well recognised at the start of WW2 and was familiar to the public - at least in the East End of London. Only very rarely did it involved military items, mainly consumer goods that were very hard to find, and often stolen.
: Two related terms spring to mind;
: 1.'Under the counter' where goods in short supply were kept away from display and only made available to special/regular customers.
: 2. 'Spiv' - said to be a reversal of 'Vips' - persons who touted suspect goods, often in street makets. Became common just after WW2.
My grandmother (b.1892) spoke of spivs as being wartime hustlers - not after the war. A spiv could have been back-slang as it was called for VIPs, but that doesn't quite work. I know that "yob" for unruly "boy" is back-slang and I wondered about 'slag' for 'gal' although it is literally the rubbish created in mining coal.
The "Black economy" is also related to all this - "black" in this sense meaning undocumented/undeclared/unofficial. I have some vague memory that "black" market might have had started with "fire damaged" goods - or rather goods that were supposed to have been lost in a fire, but were really sold through unconventional outlets.
Today in the US the black market is petty theft, organized cartels, drug dealers, prostitution, and hustlers. In Baltimore no one does black market better than rich white men. This is the high-level corporate fraud, corruption, and misappropriation. Then in all underserved communities----black, white, brown-----there is the other side of black market. The national and international crime cartels are somewhere in between......they are rich and poor.
This has been Baltimore's major economy for decades since industry left and that economic void was allowed to filled with tons of black market activity.
Public justice does not exist when these black market economies at all levels flourish. Building a court system and a legal structure in all agencies to stop this IS THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THESE PROBLEMS IN BALTIMORE. People are afraid in Baltimore to take this on but you know what? ALMOST EVERYONE IS SICK AND TIRED OF THIS AND THEY ARE MORE AFRAID OF GLOBAL WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT AND WHAT THEY ARE PUSHING. Know what International Economic Zones look like in the third world? They have black market economies surrounding these global corporate campuses and global FOXCONN sweat shops----just as in Baltimore.
Everyone understands that Wall Street is known all over the world and in the US as a criminal cartel. It feeds the black market activities in our US cities as well in the effort to keep politicians in office ready to continue the bad policies that allow them to keep fleecing our government coffers at city, state, and national level. If you do not openly state this as the #1 public justice issue in rebuilding oversight and accountability a candidate is not going to do anything. This is why Baltimore Development and global corporations are trying so hard to dismantle the #1 public justice issue-----all avenues to attaining lawyers and public access to what the legal process is and how to use it.
IF YOU KNOW WALL STREET HAS BEEN ACTING SYSTEMICALLY CRIMINAL FOR A FEW DECADES THEN WHY WOULD YOU KEEP TYING BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, AND OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO WALL STREET LEVERAGE AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS LIKE THESE BOND DEALS?
This is why we know a $1 billion school building bond leveraged for decades is not in the public interest and public justice will not allow this. A city like Baltimore may not have the muscle to bring all this fraud back but it certainly has the ability to STOP TYING THE CITY TO MORE WALL STREET FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS.
Wall Street Trading ‘Cartel’ Warned Initiates ‘Mess This Up And Sleep With One Eye Open’
Yesterday the Department of Justice announced guilty pleas from Barclays, Citigroup, JPMorgan and the Royal Bank of Scotland for manipulating international currency markets. The banks also agreed to pay fines totaling $5.8 billion.
In order to rig the markets in their favor the banks formed a group known as “The Cartel” where traders from Citigroup, JPMorgan, UBS, RBS, and Barclays conspired to rig LIBOR and currency exchange rates. The Cartel’s reach was extensive and the group was able to shift global currency exchange and interest rates by acting in collusion through their respective financial institutions.
To join the group, which operated an exclusive chatroom to conspire on trades, a trader would go through a gang initiation process of sorts complete with a probationary period and a threat.
The trader, who was the main Euro trader for Barclays in 2011, made various arguments about how he “would add value” to the chatroom, according to the NYDFS. Ultimately, they let him join for a one-month trial, but allegedly with a pretty ominous warning:
“[M]ess this up and sleep with one eye open at night.” Fortunately for that trader (but probably not so fortunately, in the end), he was allowed to stay in the group until it was dissolved in 2012.
Banksters truly play the part sometimes. The sleep with one eye open threat is just one of many quotes from traders rigging the market that display a criminal mindset.
The banks in question claim to have terminated all the traders involved in the Cartel though they offered little in the way of evidence to prove it. Of course, we could all just trust them to do the right thing. What could go wrong?
As we see below----black market has nothing to do with race-----but yes, black citizens have their own black market activities as does all groups. This is what the 2016 election is about. Will the O'Malley machine steeped in all this Tammany Hall politics combined with the Clinton/Obama neo-liberalism at a national level maintain control of our people's DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
Citizens in Baltimore and all US cities know this dynamic and almost all citizens want to break away. I know immigrant families do not want this in their communities---I know black citizens do not want this in their communities-----and I know white citizens do not want their top level leadership tied to all this mess.
THIS IS WHAT A BLACK MARKET ECONOMY LOOKS LIKE.
So Wall Street has been allowed to connect itself openly with all kinds of cartel activity because in naked capitalism-----you win anyway you can with only winners and losers. National media loves to use the terms 'haters' and 'losers' to describe the 95% of Americans fleeced during these few decades.
In Baltimore Wall Street works through Baltimore Development Corporation and in the last few decades through a NYC MAYOR Bloomberg who has a strong hold on the board of Johns Hopkins and has driven many of these global neo-liberal/neo-con policies in Baltimore.
Cannes 2010: ‘Inside Job’ Director on How Wall Street Has Become a ‘Criminal Industry’
May 13, 2010 9:00 am ET
- 1 Drug cartels
- 2 Organized crime in Canada
- 3 Organized crime in the United States
We know for example that the Latino drug cartels are far more powerful and widespread than our black drug kingpins and it is this dynamic that creates much of the violence and shootings between gangs in the city. Immigrant families are not tied to these drug cartels---they follow the movement of immigrants into states across the nation. When Maryland and Baltimore opened the door to immigrants----we saw this drug and human trafficing of sex slaves et al move in as well.
We have black pimps, brown pimps, and white pimps-----and many women in Baltimore being subjected to the worst of all this----as well as children having to watch families torn apart by all this BLACK MARKET ACTIVITY.
So, when a candidate for any office in Baltimore but especially for Mayor of Baltimore NEVER MENTIONS ALL OF THIS----are they really going to address this? NO.
This is the vital piece to helping our immigrant families successfully settle in Baltimore and to do this they need access to a functioning public justice system to make civil and criminal complaints against these cartels, against police abuse, and against workplace abuse and wage theft as does our low-income citizens.
YOU ARE NOT A WOMEN'S RIGHT CANDIDATE IF YOU ARE NOT SHOUTING AGAINST WHAT THE BLACK MARKET DOES TO FAMILIES AND ESPECIALLY WOMEN AND CHILDREN.
So, is the rent fraud systemic in Baltimore black market and does it involve a criminal cartel? This is a top public justice issue and we have to look at it from the BIG PICTURE.
All candidates talk so superficially about reforming the police department and auditing public agencies but no candidate talks of addressing these issues as individual public justice problems and that is because Baltimore forums only allow 1 minute for a candidate to say the same superficial answers.
Mexican cartel on trial in Baltimore drug caseInformant describes driving cross-country with cocaine-filled mobile home
February 02, 2011|By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun
In April 2009, Mexico's ruthless Gulf Cartel had a Baltimore problem.
Officers with the Drug Enforcement Administration had found an associate of the cartel in an Inner Harbor hotel room with more than $600,000 in alleged drug proceeds.
When the officers seized the money, prosecutors say, the cartel wanted answers. But the man they sent to investigate would himself be busted by the FBI.
Alex Mendoza-Cano would turn informant — and federal prosecutors say his testimony in U.S. District Court this week against two men charged in a cocaine conspiracy provides insight into how Mexican cartels are operating in Baltimore and other U.S. cities.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter M. Nothstein told jurors Tuesday that during the course of the trial they would hear things "you've only seen on TV and in movies."
Mendoza-Cano described driving across the country in a mobile home packed with millions of dollars' worth of cocaine. Testifying through an interpreter on Wednesday, he discussed staying in fancy hotels and dining at fine restaurants to set up contacts, and outlined how drugs are smuggled into the country by boat, personal watercraft and tractor-trailer, directed from Mexico by cartel members with two-way radios.
"The Mexican impact is here, and it's not just in the past six months," Carl J. Kotowski, special agent in charge of the DEA's Baltimore field office, said in an interview. "Increasingly, they have people they can call up here to get product into the city."
Complicating the case is the participation of disgraced Baltimore Police Officer Mark Lunsford, a DEA task force member who has since been convicted and sent to prison for skimming money from informant payouts.
Lunsford is believed to have taken an expensive watch and clothing belonging to one of the defendants in the 2009 arrest, and defense attorneys have repeatedly invoked his name in an attempt to cast doubt on the quality of the larger investigation.
The defendants, an East Baltimore phone store owner named Wade Coats and a Dallas car dealer named Jose Cavazos, are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Coats is also charged with using a firearm in a drug trafficking crime.
To prosecute Coats, 45, and Cavazos, 43, authorities have attempted to sandwich them with testimony from two men on opposite ends of the alleged distribution chain who have already pleaded guilty.
Defense attorneys say the witnesses are criminals who will say anything to save themselves. Not having found drugs on the defendants, attorney Thomas M. Donnelly said, prosecutors are relying on "huge inferences."
The witnesses were "caught red-handed, and they've made a deal to save their own skin," said Donnelly, who is representing Coats.
Neither defendant on trial this week was on the radar of local law enforcement on April 28, 2009, when city officers assigned to work with the DEA established surveillance near the Milan restaurant and club in the 1000 block of Eastern Avenue.
Their target: Ronald Brown, 44, a convicted drug dealer who confidential sources said was distributing large amounts of heroin and cocaine on the city's east side.
Brown was seen meeting with a man unknown to law enforcement — later determined to be Coats — and exchanging what authorities say was cash. When the men parted, prosecutors say, Detective David Clasing tailed Coats to the Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
Detectives led by Officer Brian Shutt obtained search warrants for a hotel room booked in Coats' name, and encountered Cavazos, prosecutors say. Inside they found several phones and a suitcase containing heat-sealed bricks of cash wrapped in aluminum foil. The total: $275,000.
"I am just the money counter — no drugs in the room," Cavazos told authorities, according to court records.
In the parking garage, officers located a vehicle with Texas license plates registered to a relative of Cavazos, prosecutors say. They found another $335,000 in heat-sealed bricks in a suitcase in the trunk.
Agents swarmed Coats, an unassuming man with glasses and a mustache who is of Jamaican descent, in East Baltimore. Prosecutors say he was carrying $7,000 in cash and a firearm, and was taken into custody.
Authorities had tons of cash, and drugs were recovered from Brown. But a broader link would come with the arrest of Mendoza-Cano in an unrelated investigation in Texas.
The men testifying against Coats and Cavazos offer insight into the lifestyles of those at either spectrum of the world of drugs.
Brown, who at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds has earned the nickname "Truck," described how he tried to live a clean life after being released from prison. He worked as a forklift operator for years, until his company filed for bankruptcy and he lost his job.
He went back to selling narcotics, he said, through a contact of his estranged daughter. He winced in court each time defense attorneys called him a "drug dealer."
Maryland and Baltimore are ground zero for every predatory business scheme in the book especially as regards check cashing/rent-to-own/slum landlord and rent frauds and all of this kills any ability of our Baltimore citizens to gain and keep wealth. It is deliberate as Wall Street Baltimore Development does not WANT CITIZENS IN BALTIMORE GAINING WEALTH.
If you are going to rebuild all communities in Baltimore with small business economies we must be sure that these economies are stable and healthy-----and that means they can operate in an economy free from all this predatory and fraudulent activity. People who are small business owners WANTING TO BE HONEST cannot operate in a city full of fraud and corruption and citizens in communities cannot keep wealth long enough to be consumers for their neighborhood businesses----whether citizen or immigrant.
THESE ARE BLACK MARKET ACTIVITIES THAT PREY ON EVERY LEVEL OF CITIZEN----MIDDLE/WORKING CLASS AND POOR----
To fuel a local economy in Baltimore we must have public justice that protects all citizens' wealth---so they can be the consumer fueling our local Baltimore economy. Stopping this predation-----recovering the worst of abuses-----will bring more revenue to our Baltimore City coffers as more people can afford being homeowners and small business owners.
When a candidate makes it seem as though lower taxes is the only issue for small business and says nothing about all of the above-----they will not create a healthy small business economy.
Maryland Rent-to-own Scam Dupes Hundreds
March 25, 2011
March 25, 2011
Car rental scheme lures hundreds
Lured in by attractive ads in neighborhood newspapers and on the Internet, as many as 1,500 people may have been tricked into paying money to a man who told them they could rent-to-own a car despite having poor or no credit.
Federal authorities called the opportunity a scam and arrested the man and an alleged accomplice, and now they're looking for more victims. "It's a devastating scheme," said U.S. Secret Service Special Agent Daniel Bongino, one of the lead investigators in the case. He said one victim lost his life savings to rent a 2010 Ford Focus.
Read the full criminal complaint.
One of the suspects had tried this before. In 2005, he was convicted of running a similar scheme, only this time with apartments instead of cars. Anyone who thinks they're a victim is urged to call 443-263-1000. Here's how the scheme worked:
Law enforcement officials say those behind the scheme charged people as much as $5,000 on top of monthly payments of up to $500 to participate. They then accompanied clients to car rental agencies and persuaded them to sign what victims believed were long-term leases with options to buy.
Police said the victims actually were renting the cars for just a few days. When the contracts ran out, the rental agencies went after the unwitting clients to get the cars back and collect late fees. By that time, police said, the organizers had stopped returning calls, and the renter was left responsible.
Baltimore has been held hostage to every NYC Mayor Bloomberg policy for decades and that is especially true of our current education, health care, and policing policies. They are written by a very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and Wall Street Baltimore Development who brings the same policies from NYC to Baltimore. NYC's approach-----ignore Rule of Law, US Constitutional rights and simply force citizens to evacuate a community slated for global corporate and affluent development. Now, Americans who thought that was good policing decades ago in NYC and LA-----are now being shown how all of this ignoring of US Constitutional rights grows under global corporate and International Economic Zone rules.
IT ENDS BADLY FOR ALL CITIZENS WHO ARE NOW CALLED HUMAN CAPITAL.
I read recently an article written by Baltimore Black Charities that called citizens HUMAN CAPITAL-----and yes, Black Charities is tied to Wall Street Baltimore Development and International Economic Zone policies. They are tied to the US FEDERAL RESERVE-----and all this very bad public policy development in Baltimore.
This article below is not definitive but it does a good job at identifying the problems existing in our policing of gangs for decades and it shows good ideas for goals in rebuilding our Baltimore City Police Department to be one geared towards REAL COMMUNITY POLICING and moving from the militarized strategies being send down by Obama and Clinton neo-liberals in Congress and guess who wrote those policing strategies? A very, very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins. They have written a strategy that is simply a WAR ON GUNS that is used to target gangs and individual citizens with a loss of all rights as citizens in this effort towards gang control. As a social Democrat I support common-sense gun control but not this WAR ON GUNS with escalating criminality with a goal of creating the next SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE ISSUE.
COMMUNITY POLICING DOES NOT DECLARE A WAR ON GUNS OR DENY CITIZENS THEIR RIGHTS----IT BUILDS STRUCTURES IN COMMUNITIES TO IDENTIFY WHAT MOVES PEOPLE TO GANGS, HOW TO MITIGATE PROBLEMS BEFORE THEY OCCUR, AND HOW TO REMOVE THE MOST VIOLENT AND UNREPENTANT OF CRIMINALS FROM COMMUNITIES.
Are there no WHITE GANGS? Of course there are white gangs right here in Baltimore so there is a failure in this article and that is why I say it is not definitive.
Into The Abyss:
A Personal Journey into the World of Street Gangs
by Mike Carlie, Ph.D.
The Police Response to Gangs
Field Note: I sent a letter to the San Francisco police department in hopes of being able to ride with their gang unit. Shortly after sending the letter I received a phone call from one of the gang unit officers. The officer asked "So, what would you like to ride?" "I'm sorry," I replied, "I thought I wrote to the department about riding with the gang unit." "You did," he said. "We just want to know if you want to ride Hispanic, Black, or Asian." That was my first introduction to big-city gang units.
In 2007 the Justice Policy Institute published a report entitled "Gang Wars: The Failure of Enforcement Tactics and the need for Effective Public Safety Strategies." It is the product of a scientific and objective enquiry into law enforcement practices aimed at gangs and concludes that many, if not most, of those efforts have been ineffective. The report identifies alternative approaches which should be of interest to anyone and any neighborhood/community wanting to find more effective ways to reduce gang activity. You can read any of the follow to learn more about what the Justice Policy Institute found:
Full (108-page) Report
In April of 2004, Charles M. Katz and Vincent J. Webb conducted a rather remarkable and very useful study of police gang unit responses to gangs. It is entitled Police Response to Gangs: A Multi-Site Study, and was funded by the United States Department of Justice. In an email dated December 31, 2004, Dr. Katz indicated that the book will eventually be published by the Cambridge University Press.
The police gang units Katz and Webb observed were those in Inglewood (CA, population 112,580), Phoenix (AZ, population 1,321,945), Las Vegas (NV, population 478,434), and Albuquerque (NM, population 448,607. The size of those departments' gang units (in 2004) ranged from 4 officers (Inglewood) to 41 officers (Las Vegas) while the number of sworn officers in the entire police organization ranged from 210 in Inglewood to 2,532 in Phoenix (the 10th largest police agency in the United States. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 35)
In addition to reading newspaper articles and documentation provided in official reports and interviewing external stakeholders (people in the community who had a vested interest in the gang phenomenon), Katz and Webb interviewed a total of 65 of the 90 gang unit officers available in their research cities and an additional 20 police managers and supervisors. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 43)
One of the key differences about Katz's and Webb's study is that the gangs in the cities they studied were predominantly comprised of Mexican Americans and Mexican Nationals, as opposed to the African-American or Asian gang populations found in other cities. Due to the rapidly increasing size and diffusion of Latino peoples throughout the United States, Katz's and Webb's study is both timely and relevant.
Because I believe the findings of Katz's and Webb's research are so important, I will summarize their findings here, although there are many more of their findings reported throughout Into the Abyss. What follows is a brief summary of the highlights of Katz's and Webb's study. It includes the goals and objectives of the study, its five major findings, and a statement on how to improve the effectiveness of police gang units.
Katz and Webb stated the goals and objectives of the study (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. i) as follows:
1. To identify and examine the factors that have led to the creation of specialized police gang units, and to examine how those factors have influenced the units' responses to the gang problems in their communities;
2. To examine alternative ways in which police agencies have organized resources to respond to their local gang problems;
3. To examine the relevant beliefs of gang unit officers, and how their beliefs might have affected the police response to gangs;
4. To identify the activities that gang unit officers have been engaging in, and to clarify conceptually the roles of specialized police gang units within their departments;
5. To assess the goodness of fit of the police response to gangs with the community-oriented policing paradigm.
The study concludes with five major findings, all of them of significance for law enforcement agencies hoping to effectively deal with the gang problems they face. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. ii) As will be seen in the remaining pages of this chapter, the problems noted in the major findings above have, to a significant degree, crippled or otherwise hindered law enforcement's efforts to gain a stronghold on the gang phenomenon.
First Finding: Police gang units were an indirect response to an objective problem
Although all cities in our study had gang problems at the time that their respective police departments established gang units, in creating the gang units, the police departments typically were responding to political, public, and media pressure - not directly to the objective reality of the gang problem. (Italics in original.) (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. ii)
When reading research on gangs, one will find the argument that police officials, the media, and city administrators may create an image of gangs for the community that "demonizes minority and other marginalized youth, in an effort to campaign for additional resources." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. ix) In the four cities Katz and Webb studied they found no evidence of such manipulation.
Furthermore, we found no evidence suggesting that police had created the gang units to control marginalized populations who they perceived as threatening; rather, we found evidence to the contrary. Much of the data suggested that minority communities played a major role in shaping the nature of the police organization's response to gangs. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. ix)
In reality, the researchers found that community members were criticizing police for not taking enough action to reduce the gang problems in their respective communities.
Second Finding: There was an absence of control and accountability over the gang unit.
The data showed that few formal mechanisms had been instituted for controlling and managing gang units and their officers, or for holding them accountable. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. ii)
At three of the four research sites the researchers found a lack of gang-unit-specific "policies, procedures, or rules guiding officer behavior, and the few policies and procedures that did exist were modest in scope and nature." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. x)
As a result, they found gang unit officers were poorly trained on gang-related matters. On-the-job experience was what passed for "training" and, as might be expected, resulted in producing several problems affecting investigations, the handling of intelligence, and their ability to provide any meaningful insights to policy planners and members of the community.
As if to compound matters and make them worse, the researchers found that "the gang units ... lacked adequate performance measures ... and were hard pressed to offer specific evidence of the units' effectiveness." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. x) As a result, "this casual approach to performance measurement ... contributed to a sense of autonomy and lack of accountability within the gang units." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. x)
Third Finding: Information was the principal commodity of gang units.
The most important benefits to actors in the gang units' environments were related to the production and dissemination of gang intelligence. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. ii)
Other than the gang unit officers and other law enforcement stakeholders, "almost no one ... believed that gang unit suppression efforts were effective at reducing the communities' gang problems." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xii) In fact, the researchers found that the gang unit officers they studied averaged only one to three gang member contacts for every eight hour shift worked. And most of those contacts did not result in an arrest. Instead, intelligence was gathered - the commodity most valued by internal stakeholders (members of other units, divisions, and bureaus within the police department).
Fourth Finding: Decoupling of gang units from the rest of the police organization was problematic.
The police had structurally and strategically decoupled gang control efforts from the rest of their police organizations. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p ii)
The researchers found that the decoupling (disconnecting) of the gang unit from the rest of the enforcement agency was the most typical long-term outcome of the creation of a gang unit. As they note, "This resulted in several negative consequences, limiting the capacity and effectiveness of the units." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xiii)
Operational activities carried out by the officers tended to be decided upon in accord with the unique workgroup subculture that existed within each gang unit, a subculture that reflected internally shared beliefs about the nature of the local gang problem and the appropriate response to that problem. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xiii)
The gang unit's perception of the "nature of the local gang problem and the appropriate response to that problem," however, often did not match the community's perception of the problem and what it would consider the "appropriate response."
Field Note: In a community of 100,000 with a police department of nearly 300 officers, the only departmentally-assign gang officer (a Sergeant) had never spoken with officers in the department's narcotics unit about the gang situation. "The narcs," he said, "aren't in our offices. They move their offices around town to keep the bad guys off guard." The problem is, they are also decoupled from the department, including the gang officer.
The researchers found that the decoupling of the gang units from the rest of the police organization led gang unit officers to isolate themselves from the rest of the department and from the community. It reduced the unit's ability to provide needed information and to receive information from other units in the department. This is a near-fatal flaw.
The police gang unit's use of "off-site and secretive locations promoted gang unit and officer autonomy, to the detriment of all. It resulted in the organizational character of the gang unit being shaped by default by the workgroup subculture, which was sometimes at adds with the mission of the larger law enforcement agency, or sometimes even with the law itself. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xiv. Italics added for emphasis.)
As Katz and Webb note, the exploits of the Los Angeles Police Department's CRASH (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums) gang unit resulted from the development of its own subculture within the police department - a subculture that defined practically any means as appropriate to reach the desire end - reducing gang activity. In this case, however, that meant violating the rights of citizens and breaking the law.
"CRASH officers began resisting supervision, flagrantly ignoring policies and procedures that they believed were inhibiting their ability to respond to the gang problem. This subculture eventually gave rise to the Rampart Scandal, in which Rampart CRASH unit officers in Los Angeles were found to be engaging in hard-core criminal activity." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 3)
As Katz and Webb note, violations like those committed by the L.A. Police Department's gang units were not unique to that city. Other police in gang units in other cities, including those in Katz's and Webb's study, exhibited equally unprofessional and illegal behavior. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 4)
Fifth Finding: Police gang units did not practice community policing.
Traditional local law enforcement finds police in a reactive mode. That is, they wait for a call for service and react by arriving on the alleged crime scene and, when appropriate, making an arrest. The emphasis today in law enforcement circles is to become more proactive - to prevent crimes from occurring. Community-policing is a proactive form of policing (while still including reactive law enforcement). The core features of community-policing include "citizen input, geographic focus (on a crime-ridden neighborhood, for example), emphasis on prevention, partnerships (with community organizations and citizens), formal problem solving" (such as the SARA Model), and greater officer discretion. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 467)
Gang units and gang unit officers were not practicing community- or problem-oriented policing. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. ii) In general, we found that the gang units that we studied rarely sought citizen input, and had rarely formed partnerships with community groups, local businesses, or other local or state agencies." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xv)
Given the importance of prevention within the community-oriented style of policing, it was disappointing to find so few gang unit officers participating in prevention activities. Klein found that only about eight percent of gang units are involved in prevention activities. (Klein, 1995) Likewise, Katz and Webb found that the gang unit officers in the four gang units they studied
believed their responsibilities did not include addressing underlying problems related to gang crime." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 470) The gang units we studied rarely formed intentional partnerships with community groups, local business, or state and other local agencies. When they did, the partnerships typically were with criminal justice personnel for the purpose of exchanging gang-related intelligence. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 472)
One of the major premises of Into the Abyss is that, for police to be effective with gangs, there must be a police-community connection. A partnership. In its absence, the police are working alone and fail to obtain needed information, cooperation, and other resources available to them from most communities.
I have worked with a community-wide gang task force for several years and continue to find information-sharing in the group of great value, as do most of the law enforcement personnel who serve on that task force. What Katz and Webb found, however, is indicative of too many law enforcement agencies in the United States. They state that "None of the gang unit officers in any of the study sites appeared to value information that non-criminal justice agencies might provide, nor did they recognize potential value in sharing their own information and knowledge with non-criminal justice personnel." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xv. Italics in the original.) I believe devaluing any source of information as an error - particularly if the sources are agencies with knowledge of gangs.
And failing to share intelligence with non-criminal justice personnel leaves many in the community without any direction or guidance as to what it is the community needs to do to effectively address the gang phenomenon. TRANSPARENCY
None of the gang units Katz and Webb studied participated in prevention or problem-oriented policing. The gang unit officers did not believe those activities were their responsibility. Addressing the problems underlying the gang phenomenon fell out of their purview. Instead, the gang units took a reactive view to policing gangs rather than a proactive one. "We found that the gang units simply did not routinely consider formal problem-solving strategies as a means to address their local gang problems." (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xvi.)
How to Improve the Effectiveness of Police Gang Units
Interestingly, we found none of the police departments engaging in any form of analysis to better understand their cities' gang problems. Community gang control activities most often were planned and implemented in accord with popular beliefs about problems, rather than being grounded in thoughtful analysis. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. 473)
Given the problems identified above, Katz and Webb suggest the following steps be taken to improve the effectiveness of police gang units and enhance their legitimacy in the eyes of the communities they serve. (Katz and Webb, 2004, p. xvi)
Gang units need to be tightly coupled with the entire law enforcement organization - both physically and operationally - so as to enhance the flow of intelligence.
Gang units need more managerial controls and accountability. With better direction in the form of policies, procedures, supervision, and training, gang units will have greater direction and capacity to focus their resources and skills on community gang problems.
Gang units should incorporate many of the organizational features and operational strategies found in community policing including, but not limited to, community embeddedness (level of participation with the community), formal problem solving, and geographic accountability.