Gang conference attendees address the Heartland's problems

Gang conference attendees address the Heartland's problems
By: Wes Wallace
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - You probably don't associate the Bloods or the Cripps with Southeast Missouri, and rightfully so.  However, according to gang experts, there is gang activity in the Heartland.  Most notably graffiti is a pretty good indicator of gangs, but there are other things to look for.
"You can look at younger kids even, or perhaps crime patterns or incidents that may have some indicators of gang involvement,"  says David Starbuck, President of the MidWest Gang Investigator's Association, Missouri Chapter.
A crime victim known as "Chris" tells Heartland News he's been attacked before and is convinced it's gang violence.  "I see it happen from time to time, and yeah it's a little scary."
While it's not a rampant problem, David Starbuck says there's evidence of gang action going on in smaller communities.  He points out it's important to stop it now from growing into a bigger issue later.  Missouri law states it only takes three people working together to commit certain crimes to be considered a gang.