Friday, February 06, 2004

I was having lunch with a cop last week and he mentioned an interesting dynamic that SEU officers use as a barometer of gang activity and influence.

It's a known fact that well-organized and efficiently run gangs collect street taxes on a regular, weekly basis from the local dealers. What isn't as well known is that they also collect taxes from illegal street vendors and prostitutes. The vendors generally pay up and are afforded a form of protection by the gangsters. The prostitutes on the other hand, pull up stakes and find other neighborhoods to sell themselves.

Cops have noticed that when they take active shot callers and tax collectors off the street (through arrest or otherwise), the prostitutes filter back into the hood and set up shop again. So this leads to the rather weird situation that when SEU coppers patrol the hood and notice increased hooker activity, they know they're making a dent in the gang power structure and gang influence on the street. "The hookers are back. We must be hurting the homies." So in a sense, the hookers are the canaries in the coal mine. If they're visibly doing business, gang influence is diminished. Keep that in mind the next time you see a tarted up bimbette tapping her stilletos on your streets. It could mean that your local gang just lost the last few rounds with law enforcement.

No comments: