Gang violence is a serious problem in USA, and no one is immune from the impact that gangs and youth violence can have on a community. Today, the gangs and the aspects of the violence they attract, draw young people from all walks of life, socio-economic backgrounds, races and ethnic groups. Youth violence is a problem not only for law enforcement but also for the community. Drive-by shootings, carjacking, home invasions and the loss of innocent life have become too frequent, destroying lives and ripping apart the fabric of communities. Street gangs are very fluid in nature, and while it is fairly easy to develop intelligence information about them, many times the information is outdated almost before it is disseminated to the proper individuals. For several years, gangs have been migrating from metropolitan New York City to urban and rural areas of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and upstate New York. Why NEGIS Needed
In 1996, remarkable increase in crime came into notice of state police. Through various research projects National Institute of Justice (NIJ) concluded that the rapid crime growth was due to gangs’ migration into new areas including Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine. Typically, these newer gangs compete with locally based gangs for members and markets. Severe risk of serious acts of violence was observed due to competition between the older and newer gangs. These gangs were not well organized like other crime groups e.g. the Mafia. However the growing number and strength of gangs posed a formidable challenge to law enforcement throughout the nation. The police was unaware of origin of these groups and their illegal objectives. Unfortunately, whenever a gang moved into a community, it would take police 12 to 18 months to learn the new gang members’ identities and to develop response strategies to their criminal activities. During that learning period, gangs operate anonymously, recruiting new members and clashing with the older, established gangs in the area. The gangs were successful in their activities due to the lack of regional police agency networks that offer 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week access to information databases. Law enforcement investigators needed systems to quickly access a broad, integrated database of information on gangs, gang members and their alleged offences. Gangs’ methods were not unpredictable. After careful monitoring of gangs’ activities, and migration by arrest data and other Information sources, it was clear that these gangs were using highways 93 and 95 to expand gang membership and activities into New England. Police could best develop effective enforcement strategies if they had any mean for quick sharing information with each other—quicker before gangs have gained a solid foothold in a new community. Law enforcement officers needed a user-friendly system to exchange data for effective crime reduction efforts. Demonstration to Development
On May 13, 1996, President Clinton and Attorney General Reno held a press conference on youth gangs and related violent crime. In the meeting prototype law enforcement information-sharing network was demonstrated by the Massachusetts. The basic subject of the demonstration was to develop coordination among the federal, state and local police to coordinate responses to gang activity by sharing information on state wide basis.
Northeast Gang Information System (NEGIS) is designed to develop a multi-State gang information-sharing network to combat the marked increase in violence, drug trafficking, and related crimes traceable to youth gangs in the Northeast. The network links five states of USA that include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Rhode Island. The system provides State and local police officials comprehensive information on gangs, gang members and their movements and alleged criminal offences. It gives law enforcement officers in five north eastern States the ability to track gang...