According to statistics gang violence is a growing problem in the Omaha area. The Omaha Police say that gang-related felonies are up 73% in the Omaha Area over the same time last year. There are hundreds of kids living in Omaha today that are at the risk of entering into gangs. Gangs can offer the feeling of acceptance, protection, and sometimes money. The increasing high school dropout rate and unemployment rate in South Omaha are causing growth of gangs. The lack of family structure and support also causes a growth in gangs.
Statistics show us that gang violence is an increasing problem in Omaha. The police say that they have been adding about 30 new gang members a month to their list. In 2004 there were about 2,400 gang members and in 2008 there were about 3,600 gang members. That is a 50% increase in gang members in four years. Police also say that they suspect that there is a new gang in Omaha making the total 29 known gangs in Omaha. There were 44 homicides recorded in 2008, and 11 are said to be gang-related, that means 25% of the homicides recorded were gang-related. Omaha's 2008 homicide total is the highest one-year total in the past several decades, and so far the 2009 total is 24 homicides.
Omaha has seen a rise in gang violence and gang membership in the last few decades but we have also seen a big crackdown on gang violence. The Omaha area has set up more afterschool programs, which keep kids off the streets and away from the influences of the gangs. The police department has a Gang Unit that specializes in arresting gang members My Question now is not "Is Omaha Still Safe?", but "What is the best solution?". Nebraska politicians think that creating stiffer penalties is the way to go, but whatever it may be we just need to find the right one because Gang Violence is on the rise. There is always more than one solution to any problem; we just have to choose the most effective.