MOSES LAKE, Wash. - Grant County continues to improve when it comes to gang activity in the county. In the past three years the numbers have improved annually. In 2010 the county had 633 gang related calls, in 2011 they had 540 gang related calls and then in 2012 that number dropped to 475. Officials believe things are getting better because they've made many arrests and lots of the gang members are behind bars.
"When a gang member goes to jail, that is something that is expected. That's part of being a gang member is going to jail," a Grant County Detective said. "When they're in the county jail. that's one form of knowledge for them. They get to talk to other gang members, see what's going on, and they learn stuff."
"When they go to prison, that's like college for them. When they go away to prison they get to see the leadership of their gang, how it operates and they get more disciplined," the detective said. "When they get out they bring that information to the rest of the gang members that haven't been there yet."
Thankfully lots of arrests have been made, but Sheriff Tom Jones hopes the judges keep handing down tough sentences so these men and women aren't allowed to get out any time soon.
"We can't do it alone and I'm very clear about that with the folks that I talk to," Sheriff Jones said.
Right now his focus is on the graffiti issue because he believes that is where gang activity begins. The other problem is kids getting involved in gangs early on in life.
"What we're seeing are second and third generation gang members. The families don't break those bad cycles," Sheriff Jones said. "We're going to take a pro-active approach to it. It starts with the parents. It starts with them educating their kids about the dangers of gangs."
Even though things are getting better Sheriff Jones acknowledges the problem isn't a thing of the past. Jones says if you see problems in your neighborhood make sure you contact the Grant County Sheriff's Department.