Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Omaha Still Safe?

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.


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Snuffleupagus said...

I think its hard to say whether any city is seen as safe or not. Anywhere you go there is going to be some kind of danger to you or your family because no place is perfect, but I agree that in order to keep gang violence from rising even more, we need to find the most effective solution.

Jane Austen said...

It's also really hard to distinguish the level of safety in Omaha because most of us are pretty safe and sound living in Papillion. From watching the news and reading the paper I do believe that violence has risen in Omaha. While it isn't nearly as bad as like Chicago I agree that we should be focusing more on possible ways to reduce violence and look for a solution so we can improve for the future.

Reaper said...

Ya to reinforce what snuffle is saying, I know from experience that gang violance is far from a problem here in Omaha. Just to give examples, when I lived in Austin gang violence was a very serious problem as a few gangs started a riot at my old school and there was even a member of our church who had her car stolen by gang members. This is just Austin, Texas. Gang violence else where such as Los Angeles is even worse. It is easy for gang violence to seem like an increasing phenomenon when the amount of gang members is only in the lower thousands. This increase is nothing to worry about at all.

Germ-x said...

That kind of really scares me seeing that the gang rate is going up in omaha. When I see statistics like that it freaks me out and I become a worry wort. But also I agree with Snuffleupagus. Any where you go there is gunna be danger unless you live in a bubble. It's just a lot scarier when it's that close to home.

MachV said...

So what are we doing about this? How come gang violence in large cities isn't a larger issue in the political arena? In trying to reinvigorate our economy, we should also pay attention to curing the negative aspects brought about by the recent slump. Gangs have been a large problem in the past and they will continue to be such until we actually do something of note to stop them.