DUBLIN - Many of the problems Dublin law enforcement officials are facing these days resemble situations more commonly associated with big cities. They’re not the kind of things one expects to happen in a small, charming town known for shamrocks and Dr Pepper.
But in recent weeks, there have been at least two serious incidents which have prompted authorities to take an aggressive, no tolerance stand against gang activity, according to Sgt. Ken Drozeski.
At the forefront of the escalating violence are two Hispanic rival gangs - one from Dublin, who call themselves the Southside 13, and another from Comanche, known as Los Pelones, meaning, “The bald ones.”
Several weeks ago, the gangs clashed - literally — in Dublin causing a head on collision in which a man suffered serious injuries requiring numerous stitches and another involving a drive-by shooting. Drozeski said as officers worked the scene of the accident, they received a call that suspected gang members from Los Pelones fired three shots at a Dublin residence where a known gang member lives. Two of the three shots hit the house, but no one was hurt, Drozeski said.
Still, those acts have raised the bar on gang related violence, forcing officers to devote more time to addressing the problem.
“This is the kind of full-blown north side of Fort Worth stuff that’s happening here,” Drozeski said. “And we’re not going to tolerate it. Period.”
Drozeski said there are between 10-15 members belonging to the Dublin gang and 15-20 belonging to Comanche’s. The gang members range in age from middle school students to adults.
Dublin authorities began seeing a spike in gang related crimes about a year ago, when what is known as “satellite gangs” began popping up across the country.
“These groups try to pattern themselves after major gangs in big cities,” Drozeski said. “One of the Dublin gang members we talked to said his group is a part of the Southside 13 Crips out of Grand Prairie. But another gang member I talked to disputed that so we don’t know for sure if that’s true.”
Drozeski said gang violence has so far not spilled over into Dublin schools.
“It hasn’t happened yet and I credit the school’s resource officer Jody James with that,” he said.
Meanwhile, Drozeski is urging the public to be aware and report any gang activity they see.
Sara Vanden Berge covers courts, law enforcement, and business and political issues for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her work number is 968-2379, ext. 240.