A Tale of Two Cities Gangs and Crime in Yakima Growing Every Year
If you've lived in the Yakima valley for decades it's no doubt you've seen a change and an increase in gang violence. Because once upon a time life in Yakima seemed simple with small towns clustered together stretching endlessly. However, the small city was not immune to the gritty and violent world of gangs.
GANGS STARTED SHOWING UP IN THE 1970'S IN YAKIMA
Yakima Police say the first signs of gang activity in Yakima started to appear in the late 1970s when a wave of drug abuse swept across the city and the state. Multiple drug cartels moved into the region in search of new markets, and they quickly found a willing customer base in the Yakima Valley. Gangs grew fast with locals who sold drugs, later becoming gang members themselves.
IT DIDN'T TAKE LONG BEFORE GANGS GREW POWERFUL IN YAKIMA
Initially, they were small and not very well connected. But in the 1990s, the gang-scene in Yakima began to grow. With drug money flowing, Yakima began to attract more established gangs from larger cities. Police say the local gangs started to grow in size and strength with LA based gangs setting up shop in the area. The largest gangs in Yakima were known as the Sureños, Norteños, Bloods and Crips.
POLICE SAY THE GANGS ARE STILL VERY ACTIVE IN YAKIMA
All still exist and now have grown larger with connections to gangs and cartels in California and Mexico.
Since the 1990's Yakima Police and Yakima County Sheriff's Deputies have worked to squash the influence and power of local gangs but gang crime is still one of the top issues both agencies deal with every day. For many visitors and residents the city remains a beautiful place to live and visit, and while still cautious, many people say they take pride in their community and work hard to keep it safe.
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