Gang activity in Denver

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Gang activity and associated crime is a long-standing concern in Denver, Colorado. The city's street gang activity received statewide attention in 1993 when a "Summer of Violence" increased public awareness of gang-related violence and led the state to enact harsh penalties for crime by juveniles.[1] From 1992 to 1995, Denver had 331 murders: 95 in 1992, 74 in 1993, and 81 each in 1994 and 1995.[1] Gang-related crime has continued, as shown by the New Year's Day 2007 drive-by shooting of Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams by members of the Tre Tre Crips, an East Denver street gang.[1][2] In 2003, the city's police estimated that there were 14,000 gang members in Denver, affiliated with 220 gangs.[3]


Two nationwide street gangs with predominant African-American memberships, the Crips and the Bloods, have presence in the Denver area. As of 2001, it was estimated that there were 11,700 Chicano gang members in the city, belonging to about 160 gangs.[4] As of 2009, law enforcement agencies identify a local Hispanic gang on Denver's west side known as the Gallant Knights Insane as having been responsible for crack cocaine and firearms trafficking, homicides, drive-by shootings, aggravated assaults, home invasions, and robberies in the area.[5] A Hispanic street gang called the North Side Mafia has been involved in various criminal activities such as homicide, robberies, drug trafficking.[4] The 18th Street gang, a Los Angeles gang, reportedly has had a large presence in Denver due to gang members who relocate to the city to avoid probation problems in Southern California.[4] Other more nationally recognized street gangs in Denver are the Rollin' 30, which are located on Denver's East Side, and the Inca Boyz on the South West side.[2][6] Denver's gang activity has expanded into adjacent areas such as Aurora, Commerce City, Edgewater, Lakewood, Sheridan, Mountain View, Twin Lakes, Sherrelwood, Thornton, Federal Heights, and Englewood.[7]

Movement against gangs[edit]

There are social service groups in the community engaged in discouraging young people from becoming involved in gangs. Some of their efforts were featured on the TV program Gangland in March 2010 in an episode entitled "Mile High Killers" that was perceived locally as having misrepresented their work and possibly promoted violence between rival gangs. Also misrepresented were certain people featured. They spoke solely of the past and the hardened version of people without acknowledging the good and positive that many are doing today.[8]


  1. ^ a b c Fred Brown (2007-07-15). "Gang fear lurks in shadows". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  2. ^ a b Osher, Christopher N. (2007-01-20). "Gang heirs drive reckless rise to power". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  3. ^ Mark Wolf, Denver gangs: 'domestic terrorism', Rocky Mountain Live blog, Rocky Mountain News website, January 18, 2007. Accessed December 6, 2010
  4. ^ a b c David Holthouse (2001-11-08). "This Thug's Life - Page 1 - News - Denver". Westword. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  5. ^ Federal Bureau of Investigation (2009). "Gang Success Stories". Archived from the original on 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2010-11-19. 
  6. ^ Luke Turf (2007-02-22). "The Transformers - Page 1 - News - Denver". Westword. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  7. ^ "Aurora zeros in on gang crime count : Local News". The Rocky Mountain News. 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  8. ^ Peter Marcus (2010-03-15). ""Gangland" episode causes outrage". Denver Daily News. Retrieved 2010-11-19.