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New Report Highlights Gang Problems

gang reportMEDFORD, Ore. — A two-year study on the gang problem in the Rogue Valley is now being released to the public, and revealed that a majority of people believe there is a significant gang problem in Jackson County.

Members of the Jackson County Gang Task Force spent the past two years interviewing various stakeholders, including police, schools, community groups, and gang members themselves. The results of those surveys will be used to find new, long-term solutions to local gang problems.

According to Jackson County Juvenile Services Director Joe Ferguson, 77 percent of those surveyed said they think there is a gang problem in Jackson County. The research also identified 16 active gangs in the Rogue Valley, and nearly 350 active gang members. 80 percent of those gangs are Hispanic street gangs, including the Norteños and Sureños.

Medford Police said most of the crimes being committed by gangs are graffiti or gang tagging, but they have also seen drug dealing, assaults, even murders.

“It’s going to be very eye-opening to the public and to us about what’s happening and what’s going on in the gang culture right now in Jackson County,” said Lt. Kevin Walruff with Medford Police.

The surveys also asked students whether they thought there were gang problems in schools. 54 percent of those students said no, saying schools have taken a good stance toward preventing gang activity in local schools.

The first of two community forums on the findings was held Tuesday night. The second will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at White City Elementary School.

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  1. Jimmy Zelski says:

    As Barney Fife used to say, “Nip it! Nip it in the bud!”

    It may be a bit late to nip it in the bud, but if the people of the Rogue Valley just look the other way and presume police will take care of the gang problem, it will get so bad that people will be afraid to go out at night anymore. I watched the proliferation of the gang culture advance over several decades in my formerly peaceful home town in California until it became a place that I no longer considered to be livable. The nightly news reports of drug activity, beatings, unbridled tagging and drive-bys, which often take innocent lives caught in the crossfire, got so depressing that I no longer wanted to live anywhere near such a cesspool of human waste. I moved to Oregon in large part to get away from that, and I’m sure many others did the same.

    We need to get involved with police and work together against the proliferation of gangs in the Rogue Valley. A good way to start is to photograph any graffiti you see. Report it, or any other suspicious activity you see to police. Police can get a handle on this but they need help in the “eyes and ears” department. They can’t be everywhere, and if people would be vigilant and report suspicious activity, maybe collectively we can keep the Rogue Valley from turning into a place that is unsafe for decent people to live. But we need to work together. Our power is in our collective message to gangs: You will not be tolerated here. They will begin to get that message when they find their shady activities reported time and time again to police by citizens who are willing to take action.

  2. MotherOfFour says:

    In a perfect world Jimmy. But then after this report aired, we heard about a 39 year old Medford man who did speak up and he is now a victim who was stabbed in the upper body and head area, and is recovering from surgery.
    I don’t want to voice out if the repercussion is going to be MY life!!! We need to now we will be protected and then we could help!

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