Does gang graffiti mean increased gang activity? - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Does gang graffiti mean increased gang activity?

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 Just days after suspected gang related graffiti was found in a central Sioux Falls neighborhood, more has now turned up.

 This latest graffiti is located in the 600 blocks of south Main and south Dakota Avenues.

 So do these recent incidents of graffiti mean gang activity is on the rise or becoming more prevalent in Sioux Falls?
 We took our questions to Sioux Falls Police in a search for some answers.

 Just seeing it can leave a pit in your stomach: the spray painted calling card of someone who is sending a message..that they consider this area their turf.
 But while we have seen several cases of suspected gang related graffiti pop up in just a matter of days, Sioux Falls Police tell us it does not necessarily mean that gang activity is increasing.

 "It's really hard to pinpoint if gang activity is on the rise." Officer Sam Clemens with Sioux Falls Police tells KSFY, when it comes to the issue of gangs in Sioux Falls, it is a fine line:
 Clemens says there is no question that gang related activity is happening within the city of Sioux Falls. "We have people that are involved in gang activity, mostly what we see with this stuff is kind of assaults and maybe some drug related stuff."

 But Clemens cautions, gang related activity does not mean widespread gang infiltration.
 In other words, there is no solid gang hierarchy in place here like there is in Minneapolis or Kansas City: the gang bangers here at a small crowd who claim affiliation but lack strength in numbers.
 That's the good news.
 But the bad news is, the idea of belonging to something can seem to be a good thing to teens and young adults who may feel alone and isolated...which is why Clemens tells us, parents need to make gangs a talking point with their kids. "Gangs are out there and they may seem appealing to certain people for various reasons but I think there's a danger in that and parents need to be aware."

 We do know school resource officers in Sioux Falls public schools warn kids about the dangers of gang and gang activity....and why it's important to steer clear of those who want to cause trouble.
 But again, there is no substitute for hearing that same message from mom and dad.

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