Criminologist: Gang Membership Not Always Clear-Cut

May 18, 2017

The federal courthouse in Charlotte.
Credit www.ncwd.uscourts.gov

There was a big gang round up Thursday morning in North Carolina and a handful of other east coast states. Eighty-three people, accused of belonging to the United Blood Nation gang, face federal charges involving murder, racketeering, credit card fraud, and bank fraud.

Most are from the Charlotte region, including Shelby and Gastonia. U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose said the crackdown should serve as a warning to others.

"Our message to the UBN is we have come for you and we’re going to keep coming for you. As long as you engage in this violent, destructive, and criminal conduct, this is not the end. We’re just getting started," said Westmoreland Rose.  

The indictment includes charges for six murders and nine attempted murders. 

Shannon Reid is an assistant professor in the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department at UNC Charlotte. She has done extensive research on gangs, their structure, and gang policy for law enforcement agencies. She says gang membership isn't always clear-cut.