Bloomberg has published a lengthy report from AP about Somali gangs. It opens with a review of the sex trafficking arrests we reported, here, in November. It closes with a discussion of how the local mosque is trying to save the kids.
Here is one segment as related by a local policewoman (emphasis mine):
Jeanine Brudenell, a Minneapolis police officer who has focused on Somali gangs and crime trends for five years and became the department liaison with the community in 2008, said Somali gangs have had a presence in Minneapolis since 2000. Gang activity began growing around 2004, when a 32-year-old Somali woman was murdered during a botched robbery. Brudenell said aggravated robberies increased in 2005 and 2006. And in 2007 and 2008, there were seven gang-related killings in a 10-month period.
“A lot of the crime was being committed against people in their own community. Somali suspects were on the whole victimizing Somali people,” she said, partly because of the dense neighborhoods in which Somalis live.
Gang members started with street robberies, but realized the risk of getting hurt or arrested was too high compared to the profit potential, Brudenell said. The street robberies stopped for a while after a fatal 2006 mugging — with Somalis at first mistakenly considered suspects — drew media attention. After that, the Somali gangs began committing more burglaries of businesses in an attempt to keep a lower profile, she said.
While Brudenell said the street robberies and burglaries still happen, she wasn’t surprised by the gangs’ move to human trafficking. She says the gangs are good at adapting and don’t show the same “small-mindedness” of traditional local gangs, who often skirmish over turf.
Brudenell said those gangs are typically involved in open-air drug markets on street corners, and their behavior is easy to identify — complete with lookouts and overt signs. That’s not the case with Somalis, who typically don’t get tattoos and are harder to document.
She described the Somali gangs as more loosely organized than other gangs. There’s no real leader, so if someone goes to prison, the group won’t stop its activity, she said. There’s also little evidence that people are “jumped in” to Somali gangs, she said. Instead, friends might just ask other friends to hang out and be in the gang.
There are seven Somali gangs in Minneapolis, and a total of about 200 documented Somali gang members and associates, she said — about 10 percent of the roughly 2,100 documented active gang members in the Minneapolis Police Department’s system. The gang members are a small fraction of the Somali population: The U.S. Census says roughly 25,000 Somalis live in Minnesota, while local advocates say the number is much higher.
Then here is a mention of that same neighborhood a commenter (Random Reader) told us about here.
According to police department data, there were 138 gang-associated crimes committed in 2008 in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, an area just east of downtown Minneapolis where many Somali immigrants settled. The number of gang-associated crimes decreased to 100 in 2009, but went back up to 137 in 2010.
Read it all.
For new readers: We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees to the US. To check out the numbers visit this post, one of our most widely read posts over the last few years. In FY2010 which ended September 30th the US State Department resettled 4,884 Somalis (here) to towns near you.
Also, after being closed for nearly two years, the US State Department is on the verge of resuming the fraud-ridden family reunification program that admitted as many as 36,000 Somalis fraudulently to the US between 2003 and 2008. See the latest on new regulations, here. The State Department is on the verge of re-opening the program and may already have done so.