MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford Police say teens are trying to impress older gang members with destructive behavior.
Medford Police are searching for a 15-year-old suspect in a reported drive-by shooting. Police say Tuesday’s drive by shooting was likely gang-related. Medford Police officers aren’t surprised a 15-year-old is the alleged shooter in this incident, because they see teens involved in this kind of activity often in the Rogue Valley.
In larger cities, gangs are made up of older, more organized members, but police say Medford’s gang activity is mostly made up of teenagers starting at age 14. Medford Police officers start encouraging gang resistance in schools as early as fourth grade, talking to ten-year-olds because officers believe they’ll be recruited by sixth or seventh grade.
Police say the most common gangs in the Rogue Valley are the Nortenos and Surenos, which are Latino organizations. Officers say parents of gang members often times are disconnected to the police department and don’t trust law enforcement officers. Police also report some parents just not looking out for red flag behavior.
Medford Police say the Nortenos are red and Surenos are blue, ironically, the same colors as North Medford and South Medford High Schools. So, officers say if your child is refusing to wear a specific color or is consistently wearing a specific color, those are red flags. Defiant behavior, questionable friend choices, and unexplained injuries are also red flags.