The city of Albuquerque has long been known as the “War Zone” for its long history of gang crime activities. Most residents in this city acknowledge that they are at the heart of a crime epidemic. Over the years, the City of Albuquerque has developed various anti-gang strategies, including defining criminal gang membership to prohibit it.

Last year, the homicides related to Albuquerque Gangs reached an all-time high. While some neighborhoods in Albuquerque are deemed safe to inhabit, some, including the Albuquerque ghettos, register the highest numbers of gang-related crimes.

To get familiar with the gang activity in Albuquerque, here are things you need to know.

Structure of Gangs in Albuquerque

The incidences of crime in Albuquerque, New Mexico, seem to be rising by the year. This may probably be attributed to the increasing number of gangs in the city. As of 2012, there were 246 gangs and documented 7,700 gang members. These gangs are generally traditional gangs or contemporary gangs, with the former dating many years back.

They are typically territorial and family-oriented and have a more structured form of leadership, which makes them more organized. Since they have lived in their communities for many years, they are semi-accepted by their communities. As such, they benefit greatly from the code of silence in their communities, making police investigations pretty difficult.

With the death or arrest of their leaders, however, such gangs go extinct for lack of leadership. Gangs like El Washe and Wells Park have virtually gone extinct due to the effects of territorial encroachment.

On the other hand, contemporary gangs include younger and reckless members. Unlike traditional gangs, these are more violent but less stable. Their identities are looser than those of traditional gangs, and gang loyalty is less guaranteed. As such, informants are common sources of information for the police. Notable contemporary Albuquerque Gangs include Thugs Causing Kaos (TCK), Northside, Southside, Westside, Eastside, 18th Street, Crips, and Bloods

Gang-related Crimes in Albuquerque

Gangs in New Mexico, and particularly Albuquerque, are associated with most of the crimes you can think of. From narcotics trafficking to gun violence, gangs in this city are involved in a wide range of criminal activities.

Particularly, Albuquerque gangs involve children as young as ten years in selling drugs, including cocaine, heroin, and marijuana. Such children raise little suspicion to the police and are therefore exploited by gangs in running their narcotics business. Illegal possession of firearms and other weapon assortments such as automatic weapons and hand grenades, making gang wars, shootings, and homicides very rampant.

Sexual crimes, particularly gang-raping of women, is another crime perpetrated by Albuquerque street gangs. Most of these cases involve the “sex in” rituals of recruiting and initiating new women into their groups. After such initiation processes, it is common for these women to be shared by being passed around the gang members.

Vicious beatings and torture are also common crimes associated with Albuquerque Gangs. Beatings are especially meted against members of the public for reasons best known to the gang members. Tortures, on the other hand, are common among rival gang members and suspected police informants.

Property owners are also common targets by Albuquerque gangs. Property crime is common, with members of these gangs breaking into various stores and stealing valuables. They are also known to rob store owners of their profits, which mostly happens at gunpoint.

Common Targets of Albuquerque Gangs

Street gangs will eliminate anyone who stands on their way. They will kill for a look or word and are known to oppress the weak and poor in the community. Democratic government officials, police officers enforcing the rule of law, and other civil liberties are all nuisances to these gangs. For that reason, they don’t hesitate to eliminate them.

Key witnesses in gang-related cases are also common targets for gangs. Suspected police informants are also another group of people who suffer under the hands of these gangs. Generally, anyone who threatens the existence or thriving of the gang is bound to be eliminated.

Biker Gangs in Albuquerque

Outlawed motorcycle gangs have been in existence since the 60s. As such, it is common to find or hear of criminal activities perpetrated by such gangs. Most notably, biker gangs like Bandidos Motorcycle Club, Vagos, and Mongols have run criminal operations in Albuquerque and New Mexico at large.

Convicted and former members of these groups testify to the use and trafficking of drugs such as methamphetamine, commonly known as meth. They are also involved in assaults and killings, usually meted against rival motorcycle gang members or other members of the public.

Crime Hotspots in Albuquerque

Residents of Albuquerque identify certain areas of this city as the most dangerous to live in or rent a hotel. Most notably, the Albuquerque war zone is known to a crime hotspot. It is an area of the city running along both sides of Central Avenue, between the San Mateo and Wyoming boulevards. It is an area known for its high gang-related crime rate, particularly drug use and trafficking, prostitution, and other social crimes. While the government officially named it the “International District,” most residents still identify it as the War Zone for its rampant crimes.

Downtown Albuquerque is also among the worst neighborhoods in Albuquerque as it registers a great deal of crime. Several residents have once in a while encountered criminals who have robbed them of their property at gunpoint. It is not uncommon to hear of carjacking cases perpetrated by gangs.

The Far Southeast and Tramway areas are also known crime hotspots in Albuquerque. San Mateo and The Southwest neighborhoods in Albuquerque also contribute to the crime incidences reported in this city.

New Mexico, and particularly Albuquerque, has been making headlines over the years for the presence and activities of criminal gangs. The state government of New Mexico has, therefore, enacted laws and strengthened police departments to curb the criminal gang activities. Some of the crime hotspots in this city include the War Zone, Downtown Albuquerque, and the Southern Valley of the city.