Throughout the country, cities are dealing with the effects of gang activity. Last year, Ogden passed an ordinance taking a hard line on the city’s oldest gang, the Ogden Trece, and while Cache Valley has neither Ogden’s size nor crime rate, gang-related crime is not unheard of.”There’s a gang presence here,” said Louise Speth of the Logan City Police Department (LCPD). “I don’t think there’s a city or county in Utah that doesn’t have a gang presence.”Over time, she said, gang-related crime has increased in correlation with the expansion of Cache County.”As the valley grows, those issues grow also,” she said. Violent Crime Paul Todd, of the Cache County Sherriff’s Office (CCSO) gang division, said while they are few in number, there have been incidents of gang-related violence in the past.”Ogden, we are not yet. Salt Lake, we are not yet,” Todd said. “We’re hoping to keep it that way.”Cache Valley is geographically isolated, a feature Speth said likely contributes to fewer gangs entering the valley. When violent acts occur, they usually do not result in third-parties being effected.”It tends to be gang on gang,” Speth said.When Ogden passed its injunction against the Ogden Trece last year, there were concerns from neighboring cities that gang members would relocate to nearby areas. For now, Speth said, Cache Valley has not seen a spike in gang acitivity and she suspects the scenario is unlikely.”They’re tied to the Ogden community,” she said. “That is their home.” Criminal Mischief Speth said the businesses of Logan city have helped minimize the visibility of Cache Valley gangs by responding quickly to instances of graffiti.”There’s an assertive approach to getting it cleared off,” Speth said. “Our stuff gets cleared off so quickly it doesn’t get the re-tag.”Graffiti, she said, is the most common form of gang-related criminal activity. If the “tags” are allowed to remain, typically the area will be swarmed with other tags as rival gangs respond to, or “re-tag,” each others’ markings. The efforts of Logan businesses, she said, have played a large part in preserving the aesthetics of the city and keeping gangs and their traces out of the spotlight.Speth said last year there were slightly more than 100 incidents coded by LCPD as gang-related. That number, she said, is typical for Cache Valley. While graffiti is the most common crime, Speth said Logan is not free of the drug and violence issues that often follow gang activity. She estimated there are approximately three organized and named gangs in the valley. Over the years the number has been as high as six.
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