Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the issuance of a $1.2 million grant to the City of North Richland Hills to establish an anti-gang center. The North Texas Anti-Gang Center will be tasked with combatting organized gang activities in an eleven-county region.
“We must do more to crack down on gang activity and prevent organized crime from taking root across Texas, and this grant is a crucial step toward that goal. I am proud of the work the Criminal Justice Division is doing on behalf of the State of Texas to combat illegal gang activity and I am grateful to the City of North Richland Hills for taking the lead on establishing this center,” Governor Abbott said in a press release obtained by Breitbart Texas. “This new facility will replicate the successful anti-gang center in Houston and will directly challenge the gangs that threaten the safety of our communities.”
The first anti-gang center was set up in South Texas in 2012. The South Texas Anti-Gang Center is located in Weslaco. When a Houston Anti-Gang Tactical Operations Center was launched in Houston, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) director, Colonel Steve McCraw said, “The violent criminal gangs operating in Texas, who regularly do business with transnational criminal organizations, are becoming increasingly violent in their tactics and more sophisticated in their business operations, as they aim to terrorize our communities for profit.”
These centers offer a centralized point of coordination for law enforcement agencies to focus on the activities of these gangs which are often associated with transnational drug cartels. The DPS wrote, in a press release obtained by Breitbart Texas, “violent criminal gangs and their allied transnational networks are involved in virtually every type of felonious activity, including drug production and distribution; weapons-smuggling, extortion, kidnapping and murder for hire; home-invasion; metal and heavy equipment theft; major fraud, money laundering and bulk cash smuggling; gambling and dog-fighting; and prostitution and human-trafficking, including both adults and children for sexual exploitation.”
The North Texas Anti-Gang Center will provide services to law enforcement agencies in the following counties: Dallas, Tarrant, Collin, Denton, Kaufman, Navarro, Ellis, Johnson, Hood, Parker, and Smith.
This action is being implemented as part of Abbott’s Bicentennial Blueprint’s “Securing Texans” plan. He called for expanding the state’s anti-gang program last year during his campaign.