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Gangs: No Trend

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Jul 25 2013 10:05:30 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 26 2013 01:15:37 PM CDT

3 SHOOTINGS SINCE SUNDAY NIGHT AND WITNESSES THINK GANGS ARE INVOLVED. SPRINGS POLICE SAY THERE ARE ONE THOUSAND SELF-PROCLAIMED GANG MEMBERS IN COLORADO SPRINGS. TWO SHOOTINGS HAPPENED ON WINNEPEG DRIVE. THE OTHER ON DALE STREET JUST A MILE AWAY. AND NOW PEOPLE ARE WORRIED GANG ACTIVITY IS BECOMING A TREND IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS. POLICE SAY IT'S NOT.

Colorado Springs, Colo. -

A thousand self-proclaimed gang members live here in Colorado Springs. That's what police told us after we pressed them about a string of shootings we've been following since Sunday night.

Witnesses told police two of them are gang related. Two happened on Winnipeg drive. The other was on Dale Street just a mile away. And now people are worried gang activity is becoming a trend in their neighborhoods. Police say it's not.

Sunday night: two different shootings and not very many people wanted to talk to police.

"And that's indicative of some sort of gang influence,” said Sgt. Josh Benner, Colorado Springs Police COMMIT or Community Impact Team Sergeant.

The people who did talk sparked more concern for officers. They said the shootings were gang-related. Three days later, bullets hit a home near the other shootings.

"Unfortunately it was within a very small amount of time and space. So that does seem a little odd. So that's why we try to put as many resources to it as possible."

Police say these cases could be gang-related or it could be a different issue that's much more common.

"A lot of times, it's not a gang problem, but it's a person problem - meaning that somebody either stole from somebody or contacted the wrong person or if it's a girlfriend or wife or something to that effect, then we have a problem where a violent incident may occur,” said Sgt. Benner.  

Let's do a compare and contrast with Omaha, Nebraska - population 415,000. Springs - 431,000. Gang members in Omaha - 3,500. Springs - 1,000 gang members. In Omaha, gang members make up 0.8 percent of the population. In Springs, it's only 0.2 percent. With all that math, Springs has more people, but*fewer gang members.

But that doesn't matter to neighbors. Three shootings in three days adds up to fear for their safety.

"It's just kind of scary knowing that you're trying to raise a family and you hear bullets. And pull out one evening and there's a whole swarm of cop cars,” said Cynthia Sixkiller.

Sergeant Benner says he can't confirm yet if these three shootings are gang-related. But it's vital for you to report any suspicious activity as soon as it happens so police can get a handle on any problem. 

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