Las Vegas Sun, Oct. 25, 2002
By Jen Lawson
The National Alliance, considered the largest white supremacist group on the American far right, has a strong presence in the Las Vegas Valley, Detective Pete Colos of Metro’s Gang Crimes section said Thursday.
“Right now we don’t consider them a gang,” he said. “They’re almost a terrorist group.”
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Earlier this week, three teenagers were arrested and charged with distributing racist fliers promoting “white power” at Cimarron-Memorial High School. They were charged with misdemeanor littering, loitering and distributing material promoting violence.
Cimarron-Memorial was the second school in the district’s northwest region to be hit with fliers. Last week, the materials turned up at Centennial High School.
Recruitment is also taking place in parks where skateboarders hang out, Colos said. It’s happening most heavily in the southwest and northwest sections of Las Vegas, and also in Henderson.
“This is what’s happening at all these nice parks,” he said. “It’s happening in The Lakes district — very posh areas.”
Another active group is the Las Vegas-based Independent Nazi Skins, whose leader was convicted two years ago of killing two men who spoke out against racism.
Colos spoke at the quarterly meeting of the Southern Nevada Community Gang Task Force, a collaboration between social service agencies, juvenile justice services, local government, law enforcement and community businesses, which seeks to wipe out gang activity.
Lt. Cindy Galindo, also of Metro’s Gang Crimes section, described a new, high-tech trend in the world of Las Vegas street gangs — gang members are displaying their gang-related graffiti — called “tagging,”on websites.
“We’ve gotten convictions from the websites, so we encourage them to go ahead and do that,” Galindo said.
Some people have an overwhelming compulsion to tag, she said.
“We’ve interviewed people who say they are addicted to this,” Galindo said. “They’re committing burglaries to get the instruments of their habit, which is spray paint.”
The number of gangs in the Las Vegas Valley has increased, according to material distributed by the Southern Nevada Gang Task Force.
In 2001, there were 308 gangs in the valley. So far this year, the task force has identified 439 gangs.
Gang-related shootings have also risen. Last year, there were 135 shootings. There have been 158 so far this year.
One way the task force is trying to eliminate gangs is through the “Back on Track” intervention program, led by former gang member Terrell Daugherty. The program provides job placement, vocational training, workshops and mentoring for boys and men ages 16 to 24.
Another program, “Project Hype,”is geared toward higher education and job training.
The gang task force began in 1991, and its early work led to the development of programs such as Clark County Parks and Recreation’s midnight basketball and soccer. It also launched a diversion program for youthful offenders and provided intensive supervision for chronic and serious offenders.
By the mid to late 1990s, the task force had become inactive. In early 2001, community leaders revitalized the group to focus strictly on intervention.